Superbet Classic: The calm before the storm?

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
7/5/2024 – A second consecutive round with all games ending drawn took place on Thursday at the Superbet Chess Classic in Romania. Fabiano Caruana thus continues to lead the standings, with Gukesh, Praggnanandhaa and Alireza Firouzja sharing second place a half point behind the US star. The tournament’s final round will see Caruana playing black against Anish Giri. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

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Six players still with chances

Since sole leader Fabiano Caruana only has a +2 score with one round to go at the Superbet Chess Classic, no fewer than six players still have chances of winning the event on Friday. Standing a half point behind the leader are Gukesh, Praggnanandhaa and Alireza Firouzja, while Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Ian Nepomniachtchi — standing a half point further back — still have outside chances of claiming the title.

For MVL or Nepo to win the tournament, Caruana would need to lose his game with black against Anish Giri and neither of the players belonging to the chasing trio should score more than a half point — i.e. the game between Pragg and Firouzja must end in a draw.

As per the Grand Chess Tour regulations, in case of a tie for first place — a likely scenario given the tournament situation — a rapid and blitz (if necessary) playoff will take place once the ninth round is over on Friday.

Remarkably, all round-9 games are pertinent to the fight for first place:

  • Anish Giri v. Fabiano Caruana
  • Praggnanandhaa v. Alireza Firouzja
  • Wesley So v. Gukesh
  • Ian Nepomniachtchi v. Nodirbek Abdusattorov
  • Bogdan-Daniel Deac v. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

Players in bold have chances to win the event.

Standings after round 8

Results - Round 8

Alireza Firouzja

Alireza Firouzja | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Firouzja ½ - ½ Nepomniachtchi

Ian Nepomniachtchi

Ian Nepomniachtchi | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Standings after round 8

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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