World Cup: Asabov and Santos leave Giri and Radjabov out

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
8/8/2023 – Two players from the top 10 rating-wise in Baku were eliminated in the tiebreaks of round 3 at the open section of the World Cup. Nijat Abasov knocked out Anish Giri, while Jaime Santos left Teimour Radjabov out of contention. Meanwhile, the lowest-rated player still going is Turkish GM Vahap Sanal, who got the better of Anton Korobov on Monday. In the women’s section, the one upset of the day saw Teodora Injac from Serbia knocking out Alexandra Kosteniuk. | Photo: / Maria Emelianova

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Bacrot, Ivanchuk and Svidler advance

Three experienced fighters moved on to round 4 of the World Cup after beating really tough opponents in Monday’s tiebreaks. Vasyl Ivanchuk and Etienne Bacrot knocked out two of the three highest-rated Chinese players in the world — Wei Yi and Yu Yangyi respectively — while Peter Svidler eliminated Jorden van Foreest, who came from winning on demand to take the match to the rapid and blitz playoffs.

Bacrot was up against the ropes against Yu, but the Chinese GM first lost his edge and then blundered into a nice tactical shot.

26.Rxf6 is the way to go here, while 26.Bxf6 runs into 26...Rxf6 27.Rxf6 Qe2, threatening mate on g2 and attacking the rook on e1.

Yu went for 28.Rxe6+ Qxe6, with two connected passers on the queenside against Black’s extra bishop. After the queens left the board, Bacrot needed to show good technique to convert his extra piece into a 67-move win.

Etienne Bacrot

Etienne Bacrot | Photo: FIDE / Stev Bonhage

Vasyl Ivanchuk

Vasyl Ivanchuk knocked out Wei Yi | Photo: / Maria Emelianova

Radjabov errs in an endgame, Giri loses on time

The two highest-rated players to be left out of contention on Monday were Anish Giri (5th seed) and Teimour Radjabov (7th seed).

Giri traded wins with white in the 25-minute games, then drew both 10-minute games before losing the match in the third pair of tiebreakers against Nijat Abasov. The first 5-minute game was drawn, and Abasov got an edge out of the opening with black in the rematch. Giri lost on time in the following position.

The Dutchman could not decide whether to exchange queens or not quickly enough. Playing 32.Qxc5 was, in fact, the best alternative, but the elite GM was probably aware of the fact that he would be in trouble after the swap. He tried to move the queen to d3 with one second on his clock, but dropped the piece and failed to make it in time.

Jules Moussard, Anish Giri, Ian Nepomniachtchi

Jules Moussard and Anish Giri were eliminated on Monday, while Ian Nepomniachtchi made it through by beating Rauf Mamedov | Photo: / Maria Emelianova

On his part, Radjabov faltered in the first rapid game of tiebreaks against Jaime Santos. Giving an ‘automatic’ check in an endgame with queens and rooks was the decisive mistake.

The defensive 33.Qf3 or 33.Re8 were necessary here, while Radjabov’s 33.Qc2+ g6 33.Rf8 was followed by resignation — 33...Rc4 and 34...Qc7 are coming, as Black’s major pieces are perfectly coordinated. Santos, who recently won the Leon Masters, will face Nils Grandelius in the next round.

Jaime Santos

Jaime Santos | Photo: / Maria Emelianova

Round 3 games - Open

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Women’s: Injac stuns Kosteniuk

The most shocking result in round-3’s tiebreaks of the women’s tournament was Teodora Injac knocking out 2021 World Cup winner Alexandra Kosteniuk. The Serbian IM won both rapid, 25-minute games to advance to the next round, where she is set to face Russian IM Polina Shuvalova. (Find IM Robert Ris’ analysis of Injac’s victory below).

Only 16 players remain in contention in the women’s event, since the field is half the size compared to the open. The pairings for round 4, starting on Wednesday:

  • Ju Wenjun vs. Elisabeth Paehtz
  • Anna Muzychuk vs. Mariya Muzychuk
  • Teodora Injac vs. Alexandra Kosteniuk
  • Nurgyul Salimova vs. Medina Aulia
  • Humpy Koneru vs. Bella Khotenashvili
  • Zhu Jiner vs. Tan Zhongyi
  • Eline Roebers vs. Harika Dronavalli
  • Nino Batsiashvili vs. Aleksandra Goryachkina

Teodora Injac

Teodora Injac | Photo: / Maria Emelianova

Harika Dronavalli

Harika Dronavalli defeated Lela Javakhishvili in a tension-filled, 10-game match | Photo: FIDE / Stev Bonhage

Analysis by IM Robert Ris

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.