Magnus Carlsen won the 2023 Superbet Rapid & Blitz Poland after another incredible performance during the second day of the blitz portion, ending with a score of 24/36 and taking home the $40,000 1st place prize.
Placing 2nd was local favorite and defending champion Jan-Krzyzstof Duda, who led until the final day and ended just a point behind with 23/36, after nearly winning a final game against Carlsen that would have forced a playoff.
Tied for third were Wesley So and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, each with 21½ points, with Levon Aronian finishing in clear fifth place with 20½.
BLITZ | ROUNDS 10-18
Carlsen’s day started off with victories against Vachier-Lagrave and So, extending his fantastic win streak from the end of yesterday to seven. He was then held to a draw by Deac, who played most of the game on the increment, before going on to defeat Wojtaszek, Shevchenko, and Rapport in consecutive rounds to overtake the lead.
55.Qxb3! was the stylish finish in Carlsen - So, as 55…Nxb3 56.Nc2++- leaves White with three extra pawns.
After 20…Nb4!, which ended the game Rapport - Carlsen.
Then followed draws with Giri and Aronian, leaving Magnus a full point ahead of the previous day’s leader, Duda.
Duda led for most of the event, and in the end was extremely close to forcing a playoff. | Photo courtesy of Grand Chess Tour, Lennart Ootes
For Duda the day was more up-and-down, as he won several games, defeating Rapport, Shevchenko, So, Deac, and Wojtaszek–but he also dropped a couple games to Giri, Aronian, and MVL.
23.Qd5+! allowed Duda to force a winning bishop ending against So.
Going into the final round, Duda would need to defeat Carlsen with Black in order to catch up and force a playoff. Despite losing an exchange out of the opening, Duda managed to survive into the endgame and completely turn it around. The Polish No. 1 was even winning at various moments, with a bishop and two pawns against Carlsen’s rook. But in the time-scramble Duda missed a few chances and Carlsen managed to hold after 124 moves of play, clinching the title.
After 116.Re8, ...Bb6! was one of Duda’s missed opportunities in the game, as White cannot prevent e3: 117.Kd2 Kd4 (threatening e3+ Rxe3 Ba5+, etc.)
The final game. | Photo courtesy of Grand Chess Tour, Lennart Ootes
Finishing in third place were Wesley So and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, each taking home $22,500 and 7.5 GCT points.
Wesley So | Photo courtesy of Grand Chess Tour, Bryan Adams
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave | Photo courtesy of Grand Chess Tour, Lennart Ootes
Fifth place and $15,000 for Levon Aronian | Photo courtesy of Grand Chess Tour, Lennart Ootes
$10,000 and four GCT points for Anish Giri | Photo courtesy of Grand Chess Tour, Lennart Ootes
Current GCT Standings after Poland
The 2023 Grand Chess Tour continues with the SuperUnited Rapid & Blitz in Zagreb, Croatia, taking place July 3-10. Tune in for live Grandmaster commentary 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.
Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, Poland
May 21 - May 25, 2023