World Cup: Svidler crushes Van Foreest’s Najdorf

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
8/6/2023 – Magnus Carlsen, Leinier Dominguez and Parham Maghsoodloo were the three 2700+ players who kicked off with a win in round 3 of the FIDE World Cup. Meanwhile, Daniele Vocaturo and Ivan Schitco upset higher-rated opponents, and Peter Svidler obtained a good-looking, 27-move win over Jorden van Foreest. Among the women, there were no big upsets, as the Muzychuk sisters had a good day — Mariya won and Anna escaped with a draw. | Photo: FIDE / Stev Bonhage

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Upsets by Schitco and Vocaturo

Round 3 in the open section of the World Cup kicked off with 10 (out of 32) decisive games. Most of them were achieved either by the higher-rated contender or in matches facing two players with roughly the same level rating-wise.

Out of the very top seeds, only Magnus Carlsen (1st seed) and Leinier Dominguez (11th seed) grabbed wins on Saturday. These were the non-shocking (rating-wise) decisive results from the day:

  • Magnus Carlsen (Norway, 2835) beat Aryan Tari (Norway, 2641)
  • Vincent Keymer (Germany, 2690) beat Amin Tabatabaei (Iran, 2689)
  • Rasmus Svane (Germany, 2625) beat Tin Jingyao (Singapore, 2573)
  • Peter Svidler (FIDE, 2688) beat Jorden van Foreest (Netherlands, 2693)
  • Saleh Salem (UAE, 2661) beat Bardiya Daneshvar (Iran, 2577)
  • Parham Maghsoodloo (Iran, 2719) beat Alexander Donchenko (Germany, 2668)
  • Leinier Dominguez (USA, 2739) beat Gadir Guseinov (Azerbaijan, 2661) 
  • Praggnanandhaa (India, 2690) beat David Navara (Czechia, 2689)

Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen is on 3 out of 3 in Baku | Photo: FIDE / Anna Shtourman

Meanwhile, the players who got to upset higher-rated opponents were Daniele Vocaturo (Italy, 2609) and Ivan Schitco (Moldova, 2507). Vocaturo got the better of Daniil Dubov, who could not prove that his rook sacrifice gave him enough compensation in a double-edged position.

29.Nc5, leaving the rook on b1 en prise, is correct according to the engines — in fact, the only good move in the position. However, after 29...Qxb1+ 30.Kg2 Qd1 31.Nb7+ Ke7, Dubov failed to find the correct continuation.

Here 31.Qc5+ was the best way to continue harassing the king, intending to go 31...Ke8 32.Nd6+, which prevents Black from ever untangling to make the most of his material advantage. Instead, 31.Qxc7+ was seen in the game, and after 31...Qd7, Black managed to escape the checks and eventually find himself a rook up in an endgame with queens still on the board. Dubov resigned on move 45.

FIDE Chess World Cup 2023

The top boards of the open section | Photo: FIDE / Stev Bonhage 

Schitco, on his part, swindled his way into a win from an equal (or losing) rook endgame against a top-notch grandmaster for a second time in the tournament.

Although Black’s king is active and White needs to be careful, the protected passer on the queenside is definitely the most important asset in the position for either side. The direct 52.a7 won here for Radoslaw Wojtaszek, while his 52.Kd5 prompted a 0.00 evaluation.

This was not the end of the story, though, as Wojtaszek faltered again later on and lost the game. Similarly, Schitco had defeated 2711-rated Sam Shankland with black at the start of round 2 after the latter played a one-move blunder in an equal endgame. Fortune has surely smiled on the Moldovan representative!

Ivan Schitco

Ivan Schitco | Photo: FIDE / Anna Shtourman

Svidler beats Van Foreest’s Najdorf in 27 moves

Peter Svidler, the winner of the 2011 World Cup and the finalist of the 2015 World Cup, grabbed a good-looking win over Jorden van Foreest with the white pieces.

At 47, Svidler later confessed that he prefers not to prepare too much before facing young opponents, since it is almost impossible to predict what they will play. The strategy worked wonders against an over-optimistic Van Foreest on Saturday, as shown by IM Robert Ris in his video below.

Round 3 games - Open

Replay games from all round at

Women’s: A good day for the Muzychuk sisters

The women’s section saw 7 (out of 16) games ending decisively, with no big upsets on the third round’s first day of play. Among the winners were second seed Aleksandra Goryachkina and eighth seed Mariya Muzychuk. Also noteworthy is the fact that 17-year-old Eline Roebers from the Netherlands has so far won all five of her games in Baku. Yesterday, she got the better of Klaudia Kulon. 

The full list of decisive results:

  • Mariya Muzychuk (Ukraine, 2511) beat Vaishali Rameshbabu (India, 2431)
  • Medina Aulia (Indonesia, 2355) beat Alina Bivol (FIDE, 2371)
  • Nurgyul Salimova (Bulgaria, 2409) beat Mary Ann Gomes (India, 2326)
  • Bella Khotenashvili (Georgia, 2475) beat Meri Arabidze (Georgia, 2451)
  • Eline Roebers (Netherlands, 2419) beat Klaudia Kulon (Poland, 2331)
  • Nino Batsiashvili (Georgia, 2474) beat Zhao Xue (China, 2457)
  • Aleksandra Goryachkina (FIDE, 2557) beat Divya Deshmukh (India, 2400)

Alexandra Kosteniuk

Alexandra Kosteniuk is facing Teodora Injac in round 3 | Photo: FIDE / Stev Bonhage 

In an all-Ukrainian battle, Anna Muzychuk, Mariya’s sister, escaped with a draw from a losing rook endgame against Anna Ushenina.

White here wins with 52.Rh5, while the direct 52.h7, played by Ushenina, spoils the advantage (the opposite of what happened to Wojtaszek in the game shown above). After 52...Rb1+, there is no way for White to escape perpetual check without losing her rook on h2. Draw.

If both Muzychuk sisters advance to round 4, they will be paired against each other. In that case, we might see — hopefully not — a pair of quick draws in their classical encounters.

Mariya Muzychuk

Mariya Muzychuk | Photo: FIDE / Anna Shtourman

Round 3 games - Women’s

Replay games from all round at

Full schedule | Pairings and results

All games with computer analysis: Open | Women’s


Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.