Anton Korobov is the surprise leader at the Superbet Rapid & Blitz Grand Chess Tour. The Ukrainian GM beat two world champions on one day: Vishy Anand and Wesley So.

Anish Giri is just one point behind Korobov going into the last day of rapid. Fabiano Caruana and Anand are sharing fourth place currently.


The Superbet Rapid & Blitz Grand Chess Tour games start each day at 14:00 CET, which is 8 a.m. Eastern and 5 a.m. Pacific. You can follow them here as part of our live portal. Commentary is provided by GM Robert Hess & IM Danny Rensch at Twitch.tv/chess.


The second day in Bucharest started with a shocking loss for Anand, who was just blown off the board by Korobov. Although invited to this event as a wildcard, it should be noted that the Ukrainian grandmaster has the highest rapid rating of all participants, and is now the world number four in that discipline in the live ratings.

An early g2-g4 is always nice to see in games at the highest level, especially if it leads to a winning kingside attack:

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Korobov Le Quang Liem Bucharest Grand Chess Tour
Korobov arriving at the playing hall with Le Quang Liem (left). Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

Giri continued where he left things yesterday, and won his third game in four rounds with the white pieces. A puzzling trade of a bishop for a knight didn’t solve the opening problems for Le Quang Liem, who soon fell for a trick and lost a piece:

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So defeated Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in a “Carlsen English,” the system used by the world champion starting from his world championship tiebreak last year, also known as a Rossolimo with colors reversed.  

So got a strong attack on the kingside that won a piece, and although his initial technique let him down, he ended up winning the game after all.

The American GM said it was not so easy for him to make the transition back from Fischer Random to regular chess. “I wish I could shuffle the pieces!” he said.

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In a game between two players still in contention to reach the London finals, Sergey Karjakin damaged his reputation as a brilliant defender somewhat as he blundered deep in the endgame vs. Caruana:

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Sergey Karjakin 2019 Superbet Rapid & Blitz Bucharest Grand Chess Tour
An unexpected endgame blunder by Karjakin. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

Caruana continued well as he won a fantastic game against Le. The knight tango at the end reminded of the beautiful game Shirov-Polgar, Buenos Aires 1994 which has been included in the annotations alongside White’s first move. If you don’t know it, don’t miss it!

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Le Quang Liem Caruana 2019 Superbet Rapid & Blitz Bucharest Grand Chess Tour
Caruana’s knights tango masterpiece. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

In the fifth round Giri suffered his first loss of the tournament, which was the first win for wildcard Vladislav Artemiev. Initially he didn’t get much in this Panov Caro-Kann, but then the European champion got a free hand in a kingside attack when Giri inexplicably snatched a pawn.

The phrase “never take on b2, even if it’s good” comes to mind.

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Artemiev 2019 Superbet Rapid & Blitz Bucharest Grand Chess Tour
Artemiev beat both Caruana and Giri on day two. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

In the sixth round Korobov suddenly surged to the top, thanks to a win against another world champion (albeit in Fischer Random). The Ukrainian GM was the first to admit that he got outplayed in the opening by So, and used phrases like “here it is strategically lost, so it’s time to resign” and “here Wesley just plays a game like in a simul” to express this humorous self-criticism.

Somehow So couldn’t finish it off, and then he missed some tactics and Korobov completely took over. 

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Anton Korobov 2019 Superbet Rapid & Blitz Bucharest Grand Chess Tour
Korobov showing his win on a touch screen for the official broadcast. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

Two of the three wild cards performed quite well so far, as Artemiev finished his second day with another win, against Caruana. Black needed only one mistake from his opponent.

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There will be one more day with three rapid rounds, followed by two days with nine rounds of blitz each. The rapid games count double, compared to the blitz.

Superbet Rapid & Blitz round 6 standings
All games from day 2


Previous report:

https://www.chess.com/news/view/2019-superbet-rapid-blitz-bucharest-grand-chess-tour-korobov