Superbet Poland: Duda wins rapid section

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
5/24/2023 – Only two players finished the rapid section of the Superbet Poland event undefeated. One of them was Jan-Krzysztof Duda, the defending champion, who was the top scorer with 13/18 points. Levon Aronian also went nine rounds without a loss, as he goes into the blitz in sole second place with 12 points to his name. Wesley So and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave both collected 11 points on the first three days of action. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

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Carlsen wins two in a row

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

Poland’s number one Jan-Krzysztof Duda is again impressing on home soil. The 25-year-old won the inaugural edition of the Superbet Rapid & Blitz tournament last year, and is now leading the standings in Warsaw. Duda was the top scorer in the nine rounds of rapid, as he collected 13/18 points. Last year, he finished the rapid in third place, two points behind then sole leader Vishy Anand. Duda would then excel in the blitz to claim the title.

Standing in second place is Levon Aronian, the only player other than Duda who went nine rounds of rapid without a loss. Aronian obtained 12 points, and stands a point ahead of Wesley So and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

Like Duda proved last year, 18 rounds of blitz are more than enough to climb up the standings, which means fifth-placed Magnus Carlsen could still come from behind and win the event. The Norwegian scored his first two victories of the tournament on Tuesday, as he got the better of Bogdan-Daniel Deac and Kirill Shevchenko in rounds 7 and 8.

Carlsen was later interviewed by Cristian Chirila. According to his assessment of the tournament situation, it all comes down to the leader’s performance in the coming two days, while he also mentioned that playing a bit of online chess helped him to recover his form:

It really depends on Duda. He’s really strong, so if he has a great event, I don’t have a chance probably. But if he doesn’t, anyone can win. I’m happy that I’ve at least given myself a chance. I was playing some blitz online yesterday — I just wanted to win a few chess games, and after I won those I was thinking, yeah, I can actually still play chess.

The blitz is a double round-robin with nine rounds per day on Wednesday and Thursday. Wins are worth 1 point, unlike in the rapid (when they were worth double). Players will receive 5 minutes for the game, plus 2-second increments per move from the start.

Magnus Carlsen, Cristian Chirila

A smiling Magnus Carlsen being interviewed by Cristian Chirila | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Duda 1 - 0 Vachier-Lagrave

Round 8 saw Duda scoring a remarkable win over MVL. Out of a double-edged Queen’s Gambit Accepted, the Polish GM deviated from his own game against Anish Giri from the Superbet Classic in Romania.

Duda had tried the forcing 14.b6 in Bucharest, which led to a 36-move draw. Now he went for the more ambitious 14.Nc4, which is better suited for a rapid encounter.

Soon after, he gave up his queen for a rook and a knight, while crucially keeping the initiative in the double-edged position.

Engines evaluate the position as balanced, but surely it is White who has easier play thanks to his activity — especially in a 25-minute game.

As the game progressed, Duda managed to consolidate his position, with a pair of rooks, a pair of bishops and a pair of passed pawns magnificently coordinated against the struggling queen, rook and knight MVL was trying to defend with. The Frenchman decided to give up an exchange on move 29.

29...Qf4 allows 30.Rxa2 Qxd4+, which gives Black nothing more than a harmless check. MVL played three more moves before throwing in the towel.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Wesley So

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave beat Wesley So in round 7 — MVL and So are sharing third place on 11/18 points | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Expert analysis by IM Robert Ris

Standings - Round 9 (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.