Round five of the World Cup in Baku saw a day of gripping matches with seven out of 12 games played in both the Open and the Women’s tournament ending in victories
The Open tournament saw as many as five games finishing in a victory. Magnus Carlsen triumphed over Vasyl Ivanchuk in a poignant match, after choosing a better plan during strategical manoeuvring. Leinier Dominguez Perez, Nijat Abasov as well as Indians Gukesh D and Arjun Erigaisi are also among the winners of the first day of round five.
There were two decisive games in the Women’s tournament – former World Champion Tan Zhongyi defeated Bella Khotenashvili while Polina Shuvalova lost to Nurgyul Salimova after a mistake in an even endgame. Elisabeth Paehtz had a relatively quick draw with Mariya Muzychuk, while Alexandra Goryachkina and Harika Dronavalli split a point following a long debate in the Tarrasch.
The Open Tournament Highlights
In the match of the day, Magnus Carlsen defeated the Ukrainian legend Vasyl Ivanchuk after a challenging game which lasted 43 moves. The match between the two is more than chess, especially in the current circumstances. Until shortly before the World Cup started it wasn’t even clear whether Ivanchuk will be allowed to leave his war-torn country to play. Despite coming straight from a war zone, Ivanchuk showed incredible strength and focus and made it to the final 16. However, today wasn’t his day on the board.
Playing the Catalan, Ivanchuk made a mistake in the positional manoeuvring, allowing Carlsen to activate his pieces and build up momentum. By move 36 Black was in deep trouble with Carlsen having two extra pawns and posing threats across the board. Ivanchuk tried to find a vent for his pieces, but Carlsen played very precisely and didn’t allow Black any chances. Rather than continue to suffer, Ivanchuk decided to resign after three hours of play.
Leinier Dominguez Perez scored as White against Alexey Sarana. In the Sicilian, Perez emerged with slightly more initiative and with a pair of bishops. Sarana underestimated the threat that bishops posed and, after a blunder, entered a losing position.
Wang Hao lost with black pieces against Gukesh D. While the two sides were even for most of the game, the Chinese Grandmaster misplayed in the endgame allowing Black to progress his d-pawn to promotion and win material. Another Indian, Arjun Erigaisiwas trying to squeeze blood from a stone in an even endgame against Nils Grandelius and, eventually, his determination paid off as the Swedish GM overlooked a pawn.
In the final twist of the day, Saleem Saleh made a fatal error in an equal endgame against Nijat Abasov that cost him a game.
Vidit and Nepomniachtchi drew in the Petrov Defense. After an imprecision by Nepomniachtchi (who was playing as Black), Vidit had a slight edge but then he missed the best move and the game was even until the end, finishing with a threefold repetition. Hungarian Ferenc Berkes and R Praggnanandhaa split a point in the Semi-Slav.
Caruana and Duda also drew their game. After a theoretical debate in the Petrov where both sides played very precisely, the two gradually transitioned towards a drawn rook endgame and decided to split a point.
The Women’s Tournament Highlights
Tan Zhongyi was the first to score a victory in the Women’s quarter-finals. She defeated Georgia’s Bella Khotenashvili with white pieces. The former World Champion was better throughout the game, but on two occasions she dropped her advantage and allowed Black to equalise. Khotenashvili didn’t use these opportunities and ended up losing with an effective sacrifice combination leading to checkmate.
Bulgaria’s NurgyulSalimova staged a surprise, defeating Polina Shuvalova. In the Queen’s Gambit Declined, White (Salimova) gained a slight edge which she held throughout the game. The two reached an endgame with a minor piece and a rook each and it looked like a draw. However, Shuvalova somewhat surprisingly gave up an important pawn on g5, leaving White with a runner on the g-file. White then transitioned to a winning rook endgame and converted her advantage by move 77.
Aleksandra Goryachkina and Harika Dronavalli drew their game in the Tarrasch Defence. Mariya Muzychuk and ElisabetPaehtz also split a point. In the Four Knights Sicilian, the two quickly progressed to an even rook endgame and decided to call it a day.
The full results of today’s games can be found here: worldcup2023.fide.com/pairings.
The second game of round five starts on Sunday, 13th of August, at 3 PM local time in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Here follows a closer look at some of the top games of the round five:
Magnus Carlsen defeated Vasyl Ivanchuk with white pieces in the Catalan.
It’s Black’s turn to move and the best option here was to continue development with Rfe8. However, Ivanchuk took on f3 and from this moment on his position started to deteriorate.
22…Bxf3 23.Nxf3a6 24.Ra4 White got more space while Black has no good active options.
30.Qc2! Sensing opportunity, Carlsen begins to align an attack on the black king.
30…g6 31.Ba2 Kg7 32.Ng5 Rf8 33.e6 The computer suggested Qe4 and Ree4 as stronger options. Now Black could have played 33…Nd4 with complications although White is significantly better.
Ivanchuk, however, played 33…f6?
34.Bb1! f5 35.Qc1 Rd5? 36.Ba2! Rc5 37.Qe3 Nd5 38.Qd2 Rf6 39.b4 Rc3. With the pendulum-like manoeuvre of his bishop White unhinged Black’s defence and now Magnus proceeds to simplify the position into a winning game.
40.Bxd5 cxd5 41.Qxd5 f4 Black tried to find a way for some activity but to no avail.
42.gxf4 Rf5 43.Qe4 and at this point Ivanchuk decided to call it a day, finding himself in a dead end without any solid viable moves. 1-0
A very important victory for Carlsen.
Leinier Dominguez Perez scored a solid win against Alexey Sarana.
The position is even. White has a pair of bishops and more initiative but overall, Black should be able to hold. However, Sarana overlooked a threat from the bishops’ pair.
21…b5? (21…Rbc8 and 21…Kh8 keeping the balance were much better options) 22.Qe5 Rac8 23.h5! Bxc2 Forcing Black to remove his protector of the f7-square.
24.Re3 Qc5? 25.Be7 and White emerged an exchange up which he comfortably converted nine moves down the road. 1-0
Wang Hao lost as White to Gukesh D after misplaying the following position:
29.Be5 was the best option for White. Instead, he played 29.Rd4?
Gukesh did not respond with the best move (fxe4 or Rb2) but his 29…Ne6 was strong enough as after 30.Rb4 Rd7! 31.Ne3 fxe4 32.fxe4 Rd3 Black’s pressure became unbearable.
33.Bf2 Nf4 34.Rc2 Rd2 35.h3 Nd3 36.Rxd2 cxd2 37.Rd4 Rc1+ 38.Kf1 Nxf2 Winning material and promoting the d-pawn in the next move. 0-1
Tan defeated Khotenashvili in the Semi-Slav with g3. Playing as White, Tan made thematically sacrificed her c4-pawn and gradually outplayed her opponent in a complicated middlegame.
White is significantly better but the position requires precision on her part. But Tan misplayed with 30.Qd6, immediately dropping her entire advantage. Exchanging bishops on d5 and then putting her rook on c7 was the clear path to victory.
30…Qxa4 31.Bxd5 cxd5 32.Rc7 Qxd4
33.Rxe6! This spectacular move, which actually leads to a roughly equal position, unsettled Khotenashvili. The only option for Black here was 33…h5, to open a vent for her king. Instead, she immediately erred with 33…Rf8?
Tan quickly rearranged her pieces for a decisive attack 34.Re5 Qb6 35.Rc6! Qb1+ 36.Kg2 Qd3 37.h4 Rb8 38.h5 opening the black king.
Now, a mating combination from Tan: 39.Qxf8+ Kxf8 40.d8Q+ Kg7 and now 41.Rxg6+ with a forced checkmate. 1-0
Text: Milan Dinic
Photo: Stev Bonhage, Anna Shtourman and Maria Emelianova (chess.com)
About the event
The FIDE World Cup 2023 is taking place from 29 July to 25 August 2023 in Baku, Azerbaijan.
In the Open tournament, 206 players were eligible to take part and 103 in the Women’s event.
There will be eight rounds in the Open and seven in the Women’s tournament. Each round will be played under a knock-out system, consisting of a 2-game match. In the case of a tie, the players will play a rapid and, if necessary, a blitz tiebreak until the winner is determined.
The winners of the top three places in both sections will qualify for the 2024 Candidates tournament.
In both events, the time control for each game is 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting from move 1.
The prize fund for the entire event is 2.5 million US Dollars, with $1,834,000 in the Open and $676,250 in the Women’s tournament. The 2023 FIDE World Cup has the largest prize fund for any chess tournament ever played.
More information about the event: worldcup2023.fide.com/
Open tournament: handbook.fide.com/files/handbook/WorldCup2023Regulations.pdf