Superbet Classic: Firouzja beats Abdusattorov, Caruana misses chance

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
6/28/2024 – Fabiano Caruana and D Gukesh continue to share the lead at the Superbet Chess Classic in Bucharest, as the one decisive result of round 2 saw Alireza Firouzja beating Nodirbek Abdusattorov. Since Firouzja had lost to Caruana in the first round, this victory only allowed him to return to a fifty-percent score. Importantly, co-leader Caruana failed to make the most of a clearly better position in his game with white against Wesley So. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

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Firouzja wins, Caruana misses big chance

Time management continues to play a big role in the second event of the 2024 Grand Chess Tour, the Superbet Classic. The participants seem to be struggling to get used to the control without any added time after move 40. Though some FIDE events use a 90+30 time control (90 minutes for the game plus 30-second increments per move), perhaps getting 120 minutes at the start of the game creates a false sense of similarity to a ‘normal’ classical control. As it is, time trouble has been a crucial factor in the first two rounds of the event in Romania.

Defending champion Fabiano Caruana came from beating Alireza Firouzja in a double-edged struggle on opening day, and did not take long to get a clear advantage in his game with white against Wesley So. Eventually the queens left the board and Caruana found himself in a position with two strong passers in the centre and the more active pieces — but he also had about 6 minutes on the clock (to So’s 18).

In the end, the former World Championship challenger failed to convert his advantage into a win, as So showcased his technical prowess to create tough problems for his opponent throughout the endgame.

In the one decisive game of the round, Firouzja bounced back from his first-round loss by beating Nodirbek Abdusattorov. Out of an Exchange Variation of the Slav, Abdusattorov faltered in the early middlegame, and then tried to compensate for his mistake by giving up material. Firouzja had no trouble proving that his opponent’s plan was flawed, and ended up getting a crucial 38-move victory.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Anish Giri held draws with black against R Praggnanandhaa and Bogdan-Daniel Deac respectively, while co-leader Gukesh, also playing black, had to work hard until getting a half point in a 90-move game against Ian Nepomniachtchi.

Results - Round 2

Wesley So

Players gather around the board of the Fabiano Caruana v. Wesley So game as the latter considers his next decision | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Fabiano Caruana

Fabiano Caruana | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Firouzja 1 - 0 Abdusattorov

Analysis by André Schulz

Alireza Firouzja, Nodirbek Abdusattorov

Alireza Firouzja v. Nodirbek Abdusattorov | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Standings after round 2

All games


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.
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