Superbet Poland: So and Duda share the lead

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
5/23/2023 – Wesley So and Jan-Krzysztof Duda are sharing the lead after six rounds at the rapid section of the Superbet tournament in Poland. So and Duda have collected 9 points each, and have already faced each other — in their round-6 direct encounter, So failed to make the most of a clear advantage. Levon Aronian stands in sole third place, while a winless Magnus Carlsen stands 4 points behind the co-leaders, on 5/12. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

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Winless Carlsen on 5/12

Find expert commentary — video and game annotations — by well-known coach and author IM Robert Ris at the end of the article.

Two days into the Superbet Rapid & Blitz Tournament in Warsaw, Wesley So and Jan-Krzysztof Duda are sharing the lead with 9 points each (a win is worth 2 points in the rapid). After scoring two wins each on Sunday, both So and Duda won their round-5 games to reach their current plus-3 score. In their direct encounter from round 6, So got a clear advantage but failed in conversion, allowing his opponent to escape with a perpetual check.

Former co-leader Levon Aronian stands in sole third place with 8/12 points. Aronian drew all three of his games on day 2, including his round-5 game against Magnus Carlsen. Much like Aronian, Carlsen drew his three games on Monday. The world champion in rapid and blitz stands on 5/12 a full 4 points behind the leaders.

On the final day of rapid action, before 18 rounds of blitz are played on Wednesday and Thursday, Carlsen will face the Romanian trio of Bogdan-Daniel Deac, Kirill Shevchenko and Richard Rapport. Out of the three, Rapport is the one ranked highest in the standings, with 6/12 points.

Rapport has missed a number of chances throughout the first six rounds. He later told Cristian Chirila regarding his plans for the third day of rapid:

I would hope actually not to be winning — just to make draws without being winning, which sounds like a happy person’s plan (smiles).

Richard Rapport

Richard Rapport | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Rapport and Duda play imaginative opening

Two of the most creative players in the elite circuit reached the following position in the first round of the day.

The Vienna Game can lead to such unlikely setups. Rapport missed a chance to get more from his offbeat opening on move 11, but by this point had nothing better than to enter a forcing line that led to a draw by perpetual check.

Garry Kasparov, who visited the tournament hall in Warsaw, was among the many spectators who enjoyed the short-yet-sensational struggle.

Superbet Chess Poland

The playing hall in Warsaw | Photo: Lennart Ootes

So’s missed chance

So could have ended the day as the sole leader, had he converted a position an exchange up against Duda in round 6. Once So faltered, though, Duda found the nice drawing recourse that saved him a point in the standings.

White has no way to escape a potential perpetual check. A narrow escape by Duda!

Jan-Krzysztof Duda

Jan-Krzysztof Duda | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Carlsen’s technical test

In round 4, Carlsen reached this position with white against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. The Frenchman knew it would be hard for the Norwegian to convert the endgame with two knights against a pawn.

Carlsen tried until move 93 when a draw was finally signed. The peculiar position prompted Douglas Griffin to share an excerpt from Grigory Levenfish’s memoirs, which tells the story of Emanuel Lasker and José Raúl Capablanca struggling with this very endgame!

Magnus Carlsen

A fashionable Magnus Carlsen | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Expert analysis by IM Robert Ris

Standings - Round 6 (win = 2 pts; draw = 1 pt)

All games - Rapid


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.