The tie at the top was broken today as Fabiano Caruana won a critical game against Ian Nepomniachtchi to emerge as the sole leader with 3.0/4. Meanwhile Rapport drew with So, while Firouzja picked up his first win of the event, defeating Deac with Black.
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.
DING - DUDA | 1/2-1/2, 38 moves
Once again the new World Champion could not fight for much advantage with White, as he tried a rare idea in the Catalan. Duda had few problems equalizing as he forced several trades, with the players eventually landing in a drawn bishop endgame
Ding came with an idea, though it was quickly neutralized by Duda. | Photo courtesy of Grand Chess Tour, Lennart Ootes
VACHIER-LAGRAVE - GIRI | 1/2-1/2, 40 moves
In a unique choice Vachier-Lagrave went for the Scotch Opening, and perhaps got a small edge as the players reached the endgame early on. Despite his slightly worse structure Giri defended well, as MVL couldn't create any real chances with his rook and knight against Black's rook and bishop, and the game was soon drawn by repetition.
MVL surprised Giri with the Scotch, but it only earned him an edge on the clock. | Photo courtesy of Grand Chess Tour, Lennart Ootes
RAPPORT - SO | 1/2-1/2, 48 moves
In one of two battles between the leaders, Rapport opted for the English Opening but was not able to generate much pressure in a reverse Sicilian structure. So mostly played in the center, made several exchanges, and then comfortably held the ensuing endgame.
So was never in trouble today. | Photo courtesy of Grand Chess Tour, Lennart Ootes
DEAC - FIROUZJA | 0-1, 41 moves
Coming out of a Slav Defense there were few issues with Deac's position, but heavy time trouble caused him to slip and allow serious counterplay going into the first time control. Firouzja seized his chance nicely, as he activated his pieces to swarm around White's king.
41...Qf3! forced resignation, as 42...Rc2-+ is coming next.
Firouzja is back on 50% after today's win. | Photo courtesy of Grand Chess Tour, Lennart Ootes
CARUANA - NEPOMNIACHTCHI | 1-0, 70 moves
The marquee game of the round saw Caruana run into a well-prepared Nepomniachtchi in a typical isolated queen pawn position. Although the position was objectively equal, Nepo started to drift into problems as he ended up on the worse side of a queen + bishop against queen + knight endgame. From there Caruana started to show excellent technique, grinding Nepomniachtchi down as he first picked up a pawn, and then a second pawn before giving the material back to force a winning counter-attack.
After 68.Qc1, Caruana was winning in view of 68...Bxb5 69.Qc7++-, with a decisive attack.
"This is a very, very important game," said Caruana. | Photo courtesy of Grand Chess Tour, Lennart Ootes
The 2023 Superbet Chess Classic continues Wednesday, May 10, 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.