SuperUnited Croatia: Nepo and Caruana catch Anand

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
7/7/2023 – Ian Nepomniachtchi, Fabiano Caruana and Vishy Anand are sharing the lead at the SuperUnited Rapid & Blitz tournament after two days of play. Anand finished day 1 as the sole leader, and saw Nepo and Caruana catching up with him thanks to outstanding performances in rounds 4-6. Nepo’s three consecutive victories were particularly remarkable, as the Russian GM recovered from a winless Wednesday in Zagreb. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

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Carlsen loses twice in a row

Eight 2700+ grandmasters — including perennial favourite Magnus Carlsen — and two rating underdogs are playing rapid and blitz chess in Zagreb. While Ivan Saric and Constantin Lupulescu, the aforementioned underdogs, are struggling after two days of action, a fierce fight for the top spots is taking place between stellar competitors.

After Vishy Anand scored two wins and a draw on Wednesday to take the sole lead, Fabiano Caruana and Ian Nepomniachtchi showed their class to catch the Indian legend on the second day of play. Caruana kicked off the day with a quick victory over Carlsen, drew Anand, and beat Jan-Krzysztof Duda, while Nepo recovered from a winless first three rounds by scoring three wins in a row on Thursday.

Duda and Dommaraju Gukesh stand a point behind the leaders (wins are worth two points in the rapid), while Carlsen and Richard Rapport stand a further point back.

Shockingly, Carlsen lost two games in a row at the start of the day. The former world champion was surprised in the opening by Caruana, and then faltered in a queen endgame against Alireza Firouzja. A major consolation for the Norwegian was his sixth-round victory over Anand, as a technical position with a rook and knight per side saw Carlsen outplaying his esteemed opponent.

Three more rounds of rapid chess are left to be played in Zagreb. The ever-streaky Nepomniachtchi is set to face current co-leaders Caruana and Anand in rounds 8 and 9, respectively.

Magnus Carlsen, Viswanathan Anand

Two of the best ever — Magnus Carlsen beat co-leader Vishy Anand after losing two consecutive games in Zagreb | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Firouzja 1 - 0 Carlsen

Analysis by Karsten Müller

Alireza Firouzja, Magnus Carlsen

Alireza Firouzja got the better of Magnus Carlsen | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Saric ½ - ½ Caruana

Analysis by Charles Sullivan and Karsten Müller

Fabiano Caruana

Fabiano Caruana | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Standings after round 6 (win = 2 pts; draw = 1 pt)

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.