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Nepomniachtchi and other Russians fight for the Chess World Cup. Everything you need to know about the tournament

Date: September 29, 2023 Time: 17:24:29

In the first half of 2023, the battles for the crown ended in the chess world. Both men and women took the title of representatives of China. Well, Russian fans still have to lament that Ian Nepomniachtchi lost the second title fight in a row, and the girls did not even make it to the decisive match.

However, it doesn’t take long to cry. Already on July 30, the key tournament of the new championship cycle, the World Cup, will begin in Azerbaijan. A lot of money will be raffled off here and three Candidates tickets at once, so almost all the world’s top grandmasters have gathered in Baku.

We analyze the most interesting facts about the upcoming tournament.

Who will play in the World Cup?

Almost all the stars of modern world chess. Rest during such a tournament can only be allowed by the new world champion Ding Liren. Everyone else is in the ranks: Magnus Carlsen, Hikaru Nakamura and Ian Nepomniachtchi, as well as Caruana, Abdusattorov, Gukesh, Giri, So, Radjabov, reigning tournament winner Duda and many, many others.

magnus carlsen

Photo: FIDE

There will be unusually few Russians at the tournament – only nine people. In addition to Nepomniachtchi, these are: Alexander Grischuk, Nikita Vitiugov, Daniil Dubov, Pyotr Svidler, Andrey Esipenko, David Paravyan, Mikhail Antipov and Arseniy Nesterov. Sergey Karyakin also received an invitation to the World Cup, but the number 11 in the world ranking flatly refused to play without a flag and anthem.

Will Magnus Carlsen win the 2023 World Cup?

Magnus Carlsen is perhaps the top seed in any tournament he enters. Therefore, of course, bets on the Norwegian grandmaster are accepted at the lowest odds.

On the other hand, Magnus has somewhat cooled off towards the classics lately, and it seems like he doesn’t really need a spot in the Candidates Tournament. And the knockout tournament format increases the chances of a leader making a mistake.

But it should be noted that the World Cup is the only major international tournament that Magnus did not win. In 2007 and 2021, the Norwegian lost in the semifinals and never reached the decisive match. Maybe Carlsen will get motivation from this?

Does Magnus Carlsen even want to play chess?

Will Magnus Carlsen become a super champion? Ding Liren said that he would fight the Norwegian

Will Ian Nepomniachtchi play against Magnus Carlsen?

Of course, in the World Cup everyone can play with everyone. The only question is at what stage of the tournament it will happen. Carlsen is the number one seed in the tournament, while Nepomniachtchi is the fourth seed. This means that they can meet in the semifinals, if of course they both make it to this stage.

The second potential semifinal, if it’s just based on ratings, is the American showdown between Nakamura and Caruana. However, it is worth saying again that there will definitely be surprises in the knockout tournament.

Who will qualify for the Candidates Chess Tournament?

The World Cup is the most important tournament of the new championship cycle, since three tickets to the Candidates will be played at the same time according to their results. Everything is extremely simple: you take a place from first to third, go to Toronto.

Among all the participants in the men’s World Cup for the Candidates Tournament – 2024, only Ian Nepomniachtchi was selected. And it is important to note that if he occupies one of the first three places, the quota will not automatically go to the one who is fourth. FIDE will decide what to do with a free trip.

Jan Nepomniachtchi

Photo: FIDE

What is the format of the World Chess Cup?

The World Cup is almost the only major international tournament that takes place according to the Olympic system – knockouts. The chess players start their participation from the 1/128 final (seeded – from the 1/64 final) and gradually progress towards the final showdown or the match for third place.

Each encounter consists of two classic games. If there is a tie, two more games will be played in the 25+10 format. If it’s a tie again, two more games with 10+10 control. Then, if necessary, two games with a 5+3 control. And then – 3 + 2, changing colors, until finally someone wins.

Have the Russians already won the World Cup?

The World Cup has been held since 2005, and the Russians have won three of the nine tournaments, and it is curious that in all three finals they beat their compatriots. In 2011, Peter Svidler defeated Alexander Grischuk. In 2013, Vladimir Kramnik broke Dmitry Andreikin’s resistance, and in 2015, Sergey Karyakin left Svidler without a second title.

Karjakin made it to the final twice: in 2021, he lost to Poland’s Jan-Krzysztof Duda in a decisive matchup. Second place allowed him to qualify for the Candidates Tournament, but we know what happened next.

Are conflicts between Russians and Ukrainians possible?

Relations between the Russians and the Ukrainians, who of late have been increasingly participating in the same tournaments, have worsened a bit. Unfortunately, it is worth recognizing that incidents during face-to-face confrontations are possible.

Before the start of the World Cup, the Ukrainian Chess Federation even issued a special statement asking Ukrainian chess players to avoid any contact with Russians and Belarusians, in addition to those provided by the chess rules. Maybe it’s for the best, because during the World Cup you only want to talk about sports and not politics.

In fencing, there was a big scandal:

The Ukrainian woman raised a saber instead of shaking hands with a Russian woman. Scandal at the World Fencing Championship

Fortunately, the draw did not bring together the representatives of Russia and Ukraine in the early stages of the tournament. For men, only in the 1/32 final can Dubov and Volokitin be found, and in 1/16 – Esipenko and Kuzubov or Vitiugov and Ponomarev.

In the women’s grid, the crossing of representatives of Russia and Ukraine before the quarterfinals is impossible. But the chess players of the two countries are among the world leaders, so they can face each other in the decisive stages.

World Cup 2023 Prize Fund

This year, the participants will share more money among themselves than ever before: $2.5 million for all. The winner of the tournament will receive $110,000 (about 10 million rubles at current exchange rates), a nice addition to the title and a ticket to the Candidates. However, even those who lose in the first round will receive a nice bonus of $3,000 (approximately 270,000 rubles).

And what will happen in the Women’s World Cup?

All of the above applies not only to the men’s, but also to the women’s tournament, where the fight for three tickets for the contenders and a solid prize money will also boil. The women’s tournament will differ from the men’s in that reigning world champion Jun Wenjun will play there. But the best in the ranking, the Chinese Hou Yifan, will miss the next big tournament.

Russia in the women’s tournament will be represented by: Alexandra Goryachkina, Ekaterina Lahno, Polina Shuvalova, Leya Garifullina, Olga Badelko and Alina Bivol. Fans have the right to expect high results from such a composition. Will the newcomer from the Russian team show himself?

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Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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