International Chess Federation
Friday, 07 Jul 2023 21:31
GCT SuperUnited Rapid and Blitz Croatia: Day 3 Recap

Fabiano Caruana and Ian Nepomniachtchi remained as co-leaders after the final day of rapid in the 2023 SuperUnited Rapid and Blitz, each with 12.0/18 points. The previous leader, Anand stumbled today and is two points behind, while World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen bounced back into form to take the clear third position going into two full days of blitz next.


The day started off with Nepomniachtchi continuing his perfect streak from yesterday, picking up his fourth straight victory with an impressive win over Saric:

15…d5! was a powerful break by Ian based on the line 16.exd5 Nxd5 17.Rxd5 Bxd5 18.Qxd5 Qa3+ 19.Kb1 Rd6!-+ | 0-1, 35 moves

Nepo continued his excellent form from yesterday. | Photo courtesy of Grand Chess Tour, Lennart Ootes

Caruana kept pace, managing to turn the tables in a very difficult position against Gukesh:

30…Nxd3!? was a strong sacrifice by Gukesh, winning multple pawns for the piece. But Caruana managed to survive and eventually overtook the advantage. | 1-0, 59 moves

This would set up a big showdown in Nepomniachtchi-Caruana, where Nepo was close to winning his fifth game in row but failed to capitalize on a huge advantage. The game was drawn, with both players again drawing in the next round to stay tied for the lead.

Caruana got a bit lucky in the first game, then escaped against Nepo as well. | Photo courtesy of Grand Chess Tour, Lennart Ootes

After a difficult day yesterday Carlsen fully turned things around today, with a draw against Rapport and wins over Duda and Lupulescu. In particular his win over Duda contained a phenomenal shot:

The stunning 20.Bg5!! by Magnus was perhaps the move of the tournament, winning the exchange after Rc8+ next.

With eighteen games of blitz left Carlsen is very much in the hunt. | Photo courtesy of Grand Chess Tour, Lennart Ootes

Losing some steam was Anand, who managed draws with Duda and Nepomniachtchi but would lose to Gukesh to only score 2.0/6 for the day:

40.Ng6! was the final move, leading to a mating attack after 40...Bxg6 41.hxg6++-

This was Gukesh's first ever win over the legendary Anand. | Photo courtesy of Grand Chess Tour, Lennart Ootes

With two days of blitz now coming up, Nepomniachtchi and Caruana remain at the top with 12.0/18, while Carlsen sits in clear third with 11.0/18. Also not far are Anand and Gukesh, who are just two points behind with 10.0/18. 

The 2023 SuperUnited Rapid & Blitz continues Saturday, July 8, with tournament action live starting at 8:05 AM CT with Grandmaster commentators Yasser Seirawan, Evgenij Miroshnichenko, Cristian Chirila and International Master Nazi Paikidze on and on the Saint Louis Chess Club’s YouTube and channels.

Text: IM Kostya Kavutskiy

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The Westin Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia July 5 - 9, 2023

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