International Chess Federation
Tuesday, 04 Jul 2023 15:39
2023 FIDE World Cup: Players lists and pairings announced

FIDE World Cup, held every two years, will celebrate its 10th edition in Baku, Azerbaijan, from 30 July to 24 August 2023. 

With 206 players in the open section, plus 103 in the Women’s competition, this event has seen its combined prize pool boosted to a whopping USD 2.5 million, the single largest one at any chess event in the world.

For many players, the World Cup is the first and only opportunity to enter the race for the World Championship crown since the three top finishers in the event will advance to the next stage: the super exclusive Candidates Tournament. This means one more spot than in the previous edition, Sochi 2021, where only the finalists would qualify: in Baku, the winner of the match for 3rd/4th place will also get the coveted invitation for the Candidates, which adds some extra excitement to this already thrilling competition.

The rating favourites of the open event are the #1 in FIDE July 2023 rating list Magnus Carlsen (Norway, 2835), Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 2787; received a wild card), Fabiano Caruana (USA, 2782), Ian Nepomniachtchi (FIDE, 2779), Anish Giri (Netherlands, 2775), Wesley So (USA, 2769), Teimour Radjabov (Azerbaijan, 2747), Gukesh D (India, 2744), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan, 2742), Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France, 2739) alongside many other well-known chess players from all over the world.

The FIDE Women’s World Cup will feature the reigning champion Ju Wenjun (China, 2564), the 2020 Challenger Aleksandra Goryachkina (FIDE, 2557), Humpy Koneru (India, 2553), Kateryna Lagno (FIDE, 2552), Alexandra Kosteniuk (Switzerland, 2523), Tan Zhongyi (China, 2523), Nana Dzagnidze (Georgia, 2511), the Ukrainians Mariya and Anna Muzychuk (2511 and 2504, respectively), and many other chess stars. 

Most top players in both competitions have a bye in the first round, but we still have some exciting matchups. 

Looking further into the draw, we can spot some interesting potential clashes. In the open event,  Magnus Carlsen has a relatively easy draw up to the Round of 32 in which he most likely (provided he beats his compatriot in Aryan Tari in the Round of 64) will face either Amin Tabatabaei or Vincent Keymer.

Moving down, we see a couple of possible high-profile battles, Abdusattorov – Korobov and Ivanchuk – Wei Yi and two duels of youngsters Sarin – Deac and Shevchenko – Sarana, as early as in Round 3.

The second-seeded Hikaru Nakamura can meet Carlsen only in the final, but most likely, he will have his first serious test in Round 3, taking on up-and-coming Nodirbek Yakubboev.

In the women’s event, there are several potential exciting confrontations in Round 3: Assaubayeva – Paehtz, the Ukrainian derby Anna Muzychuk – Anna Ushenina, Krush – Shuvalova, Zhao Xue – Batsiashvili (although the former will have to see off very talented Carissa Yip first).

Since two top seeds, Ju Wenjun and Aleksandra Goryachkina, have easy early rounds, it is interesting to see whether they will make it all the way to the final to set a repeat of their 2020 title match.  

The World Cup is one of FIDE’s flagship competitions, and in recent editions, it has clearly become one of the most followed events in the chess calendar. It reflects FIDE’s efforts to expand the competition, increasing the variety of qualification paths and the number of represented countries. 

List of players for the Open Section (highlighted the 50 players BYE in Round 1)

Pairings for Open Section Round 1

List of players for the Women Section (highlighed the 25 players BYE in Round 1)

Pairings for Women Section Round 1

Official website: