World Cup: Pragg and Caruana win, reach quarterfinals

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
8/14/2023 – Praggnanandhaa and Fabiano Caruana scored wins on Sunday to knock out Ferenc Berkes and Jan-Krzysztof Duda respectively. While Pragg is set to face Arjun Erigaisi in an all-Indian quarterfinal, Caruana will play Leinier Dominguez in a duel of US grandmasters. Gukesh and Magnus Carlsen also secured their spots in the next stage when they will face each other. In the women’s section, three out of four quarterinal matchups will be decided in tiebreaks, as only Tan Zhongyi has secured a spot in the semifinals. | Photo: FIDE / Anna Shtourman

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Gukesh to face Carlsen

A much-anticipated encounter between rising star Dommaraju Gukesh and Magnus Carlsen will be the marquee confrontation in the quarterfinals of the FIDE World Cup. After winning their games on Saturday, Gukesh safely drew Wang Hao in their rematch, while Carlsen got to obtain a second consecutive victory over Vasyl Ivanchuk.

The other three contenders who won in the first game of the round-of-16 also secured a spot in the next round, as Nijat Abasov, Arjun Erigaisi and Leinier Dominguez will all get a rest day on Monday after knocking out Saleh Salem, Nils Grandelius and Alexey Sarana, respectively.

Besides the aforementioned five quarterfinalists, Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu and Fabiano Caruana advanced to the next stage by scoring wins in the round-of-16’s classical rematches. Pragg defeated Ferenc Berkes’ French Defence, while Caruana got to leave defending champion Jan-Krzysztof Duda out of contention from the black side of a Nimzo-Indian Defence.

The one match of the round-of-16 in the open section that will be decided in tiebreaks is the one pitting Vidit Gujrathi against Ian Nepomniachtchi. If Vidit manages to beat the 2-time Candidates winner, he will remarkably be the fourth Indian player to reach the quarterfinals — even if Vidit loses, having three representatives (out of eight) in the quarterfinals is nonetheless an outstanding feat by the Indians.

Nijat Abasov

Nijat Abasov | Photo: FIDE / Anna Shtourman

Vasyl Ivanchuk, Magnus Carlsen

Vasyl Ivanchuk and Magnus Carlsen | Photo: / Maria Emelianova

Ivanchuk 0 - 1 Carlsen

Endgame analysis by GM Karsten Müller

Full-game analysis by IM Robert Ris

Round-of-16 games - Open

Replay games from all round at

Women’s: Shuvalova bounces back

Only one player has secured a spot in the semifinals of the women’s section, as Tan Zhongyi knocked out Bella Khotenashvili in the classical portion of their match.

The remaining three quarterfinals will go to tiebreaks, including the confrontation between Nurgyul Salimova and Polina Shuvalova. Salimova had upset her higher-rated opponent in game 1, but failed to get at least a draw in the rematch to avoid needing rapid and blitz tiebreakers to reach the next round.

The Bulgarian IM actually had a winning position according to the engines, but she failed to find an incredible tactical recourse in a double-edged endgame.

33...a1Q+ here, forcing simplifications, wins for Black. Incredibly, after 34.Rxa1 Rxa1 35.Kxa1 hxg4 36.hxg4, Black counts with 36...Nh5

Black is quicker to promote in all the ensuing lines! This was surely hard to see from afar, though. Unfortunately for Salimova, she not only missed this chance to win the match in style but also failed to maintain the balance after 33...Ke7 (in the first diagrammed position), as Shuvalova managed to get a 55-move win to remain in contention.

Polina Shuvalova

Polina Shuvalova played bravely and defeated Nurgyul Salimova in a must-win situation | Photo: / Maria Emelianova

Quarterfinals’ 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.