Korobov leads Superbet Rapid and Blitz in Bucharest

by Johannes Fischer
11/9/2019 – With an Elo rating of 2670, the Ukrainian GM Anton Korobov is currently number 68 in the classical world rankings. However, he is ranked sixth in the world in rapid chess at 2798! Korobov demonstrated his mastery of this format in the rapid portion of the Superbet tournament of the Grand Chess Tour in Bucharest. He finished Day 3 with a two point lead over the field. | Photos: Grand Chess Tour / Lennart Ootes

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Rapid, Day 2-3

Korobov scored two wins from three games on the second day of the Superbet rapid tournament: He won against Vishy Anand in round four, drew against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in round five, then grabbed the lead with a win with Black against Wesley So in round six.

The Ukrainian rapid specialist maintained his edge on Friday by adding three more points (three draws worth 1 point each), to finish the rapid portion of the tournament with a 12/18 for a 2 point margin heading into the blitz.

Final standings


The rapid tournament uses double-point scoring with 2 points for a win and 1 point for a draw

Anton Korobov on the way to the playing hall | Photo: Grand Chess Tour / Lennart Ootes

When getting out of the car before the start of round four, judging from this photo, Korobov seemed to have some coordination problems, but they had quickly dissipated in his game against Anand. Korobov staged a brutal attack out of the opening, which he saw through to mate.


Then, in round six against Wesley So, Korobov showed his tactical skills, but this time on the defensive. So had built up a strong attack, but did not find the best continuation and allowed Korobov to launch a counterstrike.


With this somewhat lucky win Korobov took over the sole championship lead. Anish Giri, who started as the leader in Day 2, fell back to second after beating Le Quang Liem in round four, losing against Vladislav Artemiev in round five and drawing against Anand in round six.

Anish Giri | Foto: © Grand Chess Tour / Lennart Ootes

Anand bounced back from his loss to Korobov with a win against his old rival Levon Aronian.

Old rivals: Levon Aronian and Vishy Anand | Photo: Grand Chess Tour / Lennart Ootes

Interested young spectators | Photo: Grand Chess Tour / Lennart Ootes

Three draws on Day 3 were good enough for Korobov to extend his lead over Anish Giri heading into the Blitz portion of the tournament. However, a bit of luck was needed, because in the direct encounter with Giri, in round eight, something clearly went wrong for the Ukrainian.


In this complicated position 24.♖f4 was the only clearly winning move. Giri's 24.g1 allowed Korobov strong counterplay with 24...d1.

Giri was able to hold his second place in the standings, but ultimately had to share this with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Levon Aronian. The Dutchman managed only two draws on the last day of the Rapid tournament and lost his game against Mamedyarov:



Mamedyarov prepares to catch Giri | Photo: Grand Chess Tour / Justin Kellar

Wesley So, who was crowned "Fischer Random World Champion" a few days ago, finished the rapid in last place. So gave up 2 points against Levon Aronian — the Armenians benefited from a misjudgment by So:


Wesley So

So not enjoying Bucharest so far! | Photo: Grand Chess Tour / Justin Kellar

Both Viswanathan Anand and Fabiano Caruana, suffered setbacks on the third day and had to accept two defeats each. 

Once again that leaves the overall standings heading into the blitz as follows:

Current standings

Standings via Grand Chess Tour live webcast

Day 3 commentary

GMs Alejandro Ramirez, Cristian Chirila, Maurice Ashley, and WGM Jen Shahade

All rapid games


Saturday and Sunday are the two blitz days, with nine rounds (5 + 3) on the program, beginning at the usual time: 13:00 UTC (14:00 CET, 8:00 AM EST).


Johannes Fischer was born in 1963 in Hamburg and studied English and German literature in Frankfurt. He now lives as a writer and translator in Nürnberg. He is a FIDE-Master and regularly writes for KARL, a German chess magazine focusing on the links between culture and chess. On his own blog he regularly publishes notes on "Film, Literature and Chess".


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