Superbet Classic: So beats Firouzja with black

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
5/7/2023 – The inaugural event of the 2023 Grand Chess Tour, the Superbet Chess Classic, saw US grandmaster Wesley So grabbing the only win in Saturday’s first round. So defeated Alireza Firouzja with the black pieces. Ian Nepomniachtchi could not get much with white against Ding Liren’s second in the World Championship match, Richard Rapport, while Ding himself drew his game with white against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

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Rapport holds Nepo to a draw with the French

Ding Liren famously stunned the chess world by playing the French Defence in game 7 of the World Championship match he recently won in Astana. His second, Richard Rapport, has been playing this system for years, and decided himself to play it against Ian Nepomniachtchi, Ding’s opponent in the match, in the first round of the Superbet Chess Classic. Nepo could not get much with white and a draw was eventually agreed.

The new world champion, on his part, faced Maxime Vachier-Lagrave with white. A professional, grandmasterly draw was the result of the game, with MVL getting off to a good start as he will be trying to defend his title from last year in Bucharest.

Not all games finished drawn, though, as Wesley So got the better of Alireza Firouzja with the black pieces to become the first leader of the event. Firouzja, who won the Grand Chess Tour last year, had obtained a crucial victory over So at the latest edition of the Sinquefield Cup. So confessed that he was happy to take revenge for that game in Saint Louis, especially while facing such a strong opponent.

In the second round, MVL will play white against the early leader, while Ding will get to face former World Championship challenger Fabiano Caruana, also with white. The clash between Ding and Nepo will follow in round 3, on Monday.

Garry Kasparov, Ding Liren

The 13th world champion, Garry Kasparov, made the first move for Ding Liren, the 17th recently crowned world champion | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Superbet Chess Classic 2023

The beautiful playing hall during the first round | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Results - Round 1

Standings - Round 1

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Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.