Wesley So and Jan-Krzysztof Duda continued to lead the 2023 Superbet Rapid & Blitz after a hard-fought day resulted in 12 out of a total 15 games drawn. With three games left to play in the rapid portion, So and Duda are in first with 9.0/12 points, while Levon Aronian is in clear third with 8.0/12. Meanwhile a rusty Carlsen fared slightly better in today's action, drawing all three of his games but without ever being worse.
RAPID | ROUNDS 4-6
Surprisingly, all five games in the first round of the day were drawn, with Carlsen pushing MVL all the way in a two knights vs. pawn endgame but never managing to win.
Perhaps the wildest game of the day was the encounter between Rapport and Duda, which featured some wild complications arising out of a Vienna Game that ultimately ended in a perpetual check:
After 13…Qf1! both kings were in danger, with Rapport soon needing to give a perpetual.
Carlsen looked in better form today, but has yet to win a game. | Photo courtesy of Grand Chess Tour, Lennart Ootes
The fifth round was the only one with decisive results, as first Duda took advantage of a late-middlegame blunder by Wojtaszek which allowed him to transition into a winning queen ending:
Wojtaszek’s 38…gxh4?? lost the game on the spot after 39.Qf4+!+-, with an easily winning bishop vs. knight endgame.
Duda continued his excellent form during Day 2 | Photo courtesy of Grand Chess Tour, Lennart Ootes
So kept pace, defeating Shevchenko after spotting a nice tactical resource to win a piece:
The clever 47.Re1! ended the game on the spot after 47…Bc5 48.Re8+ Kh7 48.Ne4+-, winning a piece
Picking up his first win was Deac, who exploited a serious blunder by Giri to win a pawn in the endgame, after which he duly converted.
Deac has struggled so far but finally managed to score his first win. | Photo courtesy of Grand Chess Tour, Lennart Ootes
Meanwhile Carlsen faced a c3-Sicilian from Aronian and executed an interesting positional exchange sacrifice, leaving him with two pawns and an unopposed bishop for the rook. But as the pieces got traded off neither side could make much progress and a repetition was eventually found.
Two wins and four draws for Aronian, who remains just a point behind the leaders. | Photo courtesy of Grand Chess Tour, Bryan Adams
The final round of the day again saw all draws, as in the battle of the leaders So missed a big chance against Duda which would have given him a clear lead, instead allowing a perpetual:
Here Duda found 43…Ne3+!, forcing a draw by perpetual check.
Still win-less, Carlsen started with 1.b3 against Giri and in the middlegame went for another positional exchange sacrifice. But he missed his only chance to get a clear advantage (34.d5), allowing Giri to eventually hold on with precise defense.
The 2023 Superbet Rapid & Blitz continues Tuesday, May 23, with tournament action live starting at 7:05 AM CT with Grandmaster commentators Yasser Seirawan, Var Akobian, Cristian Chirila and International Master Nazi Paikidze on grandchesstour.org and on the Saint Louis Chess Club’s YouTube and Twitch.tv channels.
Text: IM Kostya Kavutskiy
Photos: Courtesy of Grand Chess Tour and Spectrum Studios Credits available on Flickr.
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