Superbet Poland: Rapport inflicts a first loss on Anand

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
5/22/2022 – Vishy Anand won the rapid section of the Superbet tournament in Warsaw, despite losing his round-9 encounter against Richard Rapport. The latter goes into the 18 rounds of blitz in sole second place, after winning twice and losing once on Saturday. Jan-Krzysztof Duda stands in third place, a point further back. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

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A full-point lead for Anand

After winning five games in a row to kick off the tournament and drawing Jan-Krzysztof Duda in Friday’s last round, Vishy Anand continued his fantastic run in Warsaw with a win over underdog David Gavrilescu. The ‘Tiger from Madras’ drew the ever-dangerous Fabiano Caruana in the next round and then suffered his first loss of the event, as he was taken down by Richard Rapport.

Rapport finished day 1 with a fifty-percent score, but has since grabbed five wins and a loss to go into the blitz in sole second place. Moreover, the Hungarian could have easily obtained yet another perfect 6/6 on Saturday, as he failed to convert a winning position against Wesley So in round 8 — he lost that position, in fact. Rapport, an unapologetically creative player, only drew once in the nine rounds of rapid.

Standing in third place is Duda. The local hero drew Kirill Shevchenko and then finished the rapid with two straight wins to go into the final two days of action two points behind the leader. The 24-year-old is currently the fourth-highest rated rapid player in the world.

Superbet Poland, Ukraine

All for Ukraine | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Rapport would have caught up with the leader had he made the most of his chances in his game against So. The Hungarian had the black pieces and a clear material advantage, but he first needed to deal with his opponent’s dangerous initiative.

The only move that kept Black’s advantage here was the retreating 43...Bd7, when White cannot get anything from the fact that the bishop is now pinned. Rapport, however, played 43...Qe6, and not only lost his advantage but also found himself in a losing position.

So found the strong 44.Qg5 — albeit 44.Rh7+ was even better — and after 44...Qe5 continued with 45.Qd8, which is the best move in the position.

Rapport had nothing better than 45...Qg7, giving up the queen. He had a dead-lost position, though, as he resigned four moves later.

Wesley So

Wesley So | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Despite having secured first place in the rapid with a round to spare, Anand did not shy away from entering complications against his closest chaser in Saturday’s final round. The Indian played sharply with black out of a Petroff Defence and found himself in an inferior position by the time the late middlegame phase was reached.

Anand defended resourcefully, though, and actually managed to equalize. A blunder on move 35 abruptly put an end to the game.

Much like Rapport in the game against So, Anand tried to force a queen swap while trying to relieve the pressure — 35...Qd6 lost immediately to 36.Qxf7+, as after 36...Kxf7 White will get a new queen soon. The Indian resigned after the queen captured the rook on f7.

Interestingly, after the forced sequence 37.fxg7+ Kg8 38.Rxf8+ Qxf8 39.gxf8Q+ Kxf8, Black cannot even try to keep fighting with his passer on the d-file due to a skewer along the a3-f8 diagonal.

40.Bb4 is the lethal blow here.

Richard Rapport, Vishy Anand

A smiling handshake — Richard Rapport and Vishy Anand | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Final standings - Rapid (2 pts for a win, 1 pt for a draw)

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.