Fabiano Caruana was the sole winner of the third day of the 2023 Superbet Chess Classic, defeating Maxime Vachier-Lagrave to join Nepomniachtchi, So, and Rapport in the leaders group, all with 2.0/3 points. All the other games of the round were drawn, including a rematch of the 2023 FIDE World Championship, in which Nepomniachtchi squandered a big advantage out of the opening against Ding Liren.
Check out the full replay of live coverage from the day here. The time control for the event is 90 minutes for 40 moves, followed by an additional 30 minutes, with a 30 second increment starting from move 1.
FIROUZJA - RAPPORT | ½-½, 33 moves
Despite opting for the sharp 5.Nc3 variation and castling queenside against Rapport’s Petroff Defense, Firouzja could not get any edge out of the opening, and even had to take care not to fall worse as White. As the pieces all got traded in the center, the players soon found themselves in a drawn bishop ending.
A tough day for Firouzja, who couldn’t get anything with White. | Photo courtesy of Grand Chess Tour, Lennart Ootes
CARUANA - VACHIER-LAGRAVE | 1-0, 23 moves
Looking for a sharp struggle Caruana tried the trendy 3.h4 anti-Grunfeld, to which Vachier-Lagrave responded with a Benko Gambit type of sacrifice. But MVL played way too riskily in the early middlegame, giving up a second pawn in search of piece activity. Caruana found a nice way to counter Black’s attack, forcing resignation in view of heavy material losses.
After 23.Ne2, the final position of Caruana - MVL. Black resigned in view of White’s threat Rxd3 as well as an eventual Nf4, trapping Black’s queen.
Caruana was ruthless in his execution today. | Photo courtesy of Grand Chess Tour, Lennart Ootes
NEPOMNIACHTCHI - DING | ½-½, 54 moves
In a rematch of the recent World Championship, Nepomniachtchi deviated from his usual 1.e4 and instead started with 1.d4, against which Ding chose the Queen’s Gambit Declined. Soon into the queenless middlegame, Ding blundered, allowing Nepomniachtchi to get a huge strategic advantage thanks to a powerful backwards knight move. But a couple moves later Nepo returned the favor, letting Ding back into the game, who would go on to hold a somewhat worse rook ending.
After 14…Bb3, Nepo found the strong move 15.Nb1!, heading to d2 to harass Black’s bishop.
As it often occurred in the match, Nepo was better, but Ding escaped! | Photo courtesy of Grand Chess Tour, Lennart Ootes
SO - GIRI | ½-½, 57 moves
After going for the Berlin Endgame it seemed like So was slightly better in an ending with rooks and opposite colored bishops, but his winning chances were quite slim as Giri was able to calmly hold the position. Despite achieving a passed pawn, So could not make further progress as Black’s pieces simply got too active.
So far a quiet start –three draws– for Anish Giri. | Photo courtesy of Grand Chess Tour, Lennart Ootes
DUDA - DEAC | ½-½, 57 moves
The final game of the day to finish saw Duda achieve a large advantage out of the opening in a Rossolimo Sicilian, with extra space and a better structure. The Polish No. 1 was then able to transform his edge into an extra pawn in the endgame, but patient defense by Deac kept him in the game until Duda slipped in his conversion, allowing Black to force a draw.
The wildcard and lowest rated player, Deac, showed great resilience today. | Photo courtesy of Grand Chess Tour, Lennart Ootes
The 2023 Superbet Chess Classic continues Tuesday, May 9, with tournament action live starting at 7:20 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.