Jan-Krzyszstof Duda won the rapid portion of the 2023 Superbet Rapid & Blitz after ending the third day with a score of 13/18, sole leading the event going into the blitz portion tomorrow.
With 18 rounds of blitz to play, Levon Aronian is currently in second with 12/18 while Wesley So and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave are tied for third with 11/18 points. Meanwhile World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen ended the day in clear fifth, after scoring two wins a draw to regain his usual form.
RAPID | ROUNDS 7-9
The day started with Vachier-Lagrave defeating So, one of yesterday’s co-leaders, after finding a nice breakthrough in the middlegame:
25.d6! Opened up the bishop on c4 and was followed with g4-g5, posing serious problems.
Also taking place in Round 7 was Carlsen finally scoring his first win of the event, taking advantage of several mistakes in the endgame by Deac:
After 23…c5, Carlsen managed to exchange his c-pawn and then win White's a-pawn, converting the resulting endgame.
The former champ showed signs of his usual self today. | Photo courtesy of Grand Chess Tour, Lennart Ootes
A draw by Duda with Shevchenko allowed him to pull ahead of So, as did Aronian who converted a nice middlegame advantage against Wojtaszek. In the next round Duda pulled ahead with a win over MVL, which featured a nice queen sacrifice for a rook and minor piece:
After 19.Bxd3, Duda had a rook, bishop, and two pawns for Black's queen, which proved to be more than enough.
Last year's winner looks poised to repeat his title this year. | Photo courtesy of Grand Chess Tour, Lennart Ootes
In the meantime Carlsen started to pick up steam, displaying more endgame magic against Shevchenko to win his second game with Black in a row:
After 39…Bd4!, Carlsen was able to activate his king via the c5-square.
In the ninth and final round of the rapid Duda drew with Aronian, solidifying their first and second place standing, while MVL was the sole winner, defeating Shevchenko in a Sicilian Dragon to sneak into third place.
MVL started slow with one win and five draws, but went 2-1 today to keep himself within reach of first. | Photo courtesy of Grand Chess Tour, Lennart Ootes
Carlsen's third game of the day was a wild encounter against Rapport, who missed some chances as the players went into a messy time scramble which eventually ended in a perpetual check.
One win, one loss, and seven draws in the rapid for Rapport. | Photo courtesy of Grand Chess Tour, Lennart Ootes
The 2023 Superbet Rapid & Blitz continues Wednesday, May 24, 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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