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SuperUnited R&B 2023 Day 2: Is Magnus Carlsen's invincibility waning?

by Shahid Ahmed - 07/07/2023

There was a time when Magnus Carlsen rarely lost a rated game. That seems to be changing in recent times. The world no.1 started his second day at SuperUnited Rapid and Blitz 2023 with two losses. One against Fabiano Caruana (USA) where the Norwegian seemed to have gotten surprised by his opponent's choice of 6...Na5. The second loss against Alireza Firouzja (FRA) froze Magnus Carlsen for 17 seconds. Of course, he was trying to figure out what cost him the game. He finished the day by ending the legend, Vishy Anand's unbeaten streak at this event. Currently, Caruana, Ian Nepomniachtchi and Anand are tied with the same score 8/12. D Gukesh had a better second day. He is now at shared fourth place with Jan-Krzysztof Duda (POL) 7/12. Final day of Rapid commences with Round 7 from 3 p.m. local time, 6:30 p.m. IST. All photos are by Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour, unless stated otherwise.

Carlsen ends Anand's unbeaten streak

D Gukesh had a better day as he drew against Richard Rapport (ROU), defeated Constantin Lupulescu (ROU) and Ivan Saric (CRO).

Magnus Carlsen froze after his loss against Alireza Firouzja

Round 4: Carlsen - Caruana: 0-2

Magnus Carlsen (NOR, 2829) was surprised by Fabiano Caruana's (USA, 2752) 6...Na5. He made some play which landed the world no.1 in a deep trouble.

Position after 12.Nc2

12.bxc3 would have been fine for White. 12.Nc2 Nxa2 13.Nxb4 Nxb4 14.Rxa5 Nc2+ 15.Kd1 Nd4 16.f3 Be6 17.Bc3 b6 18.Rg5 0-0-0 White is in deep trouble. 19.Ke1 g6 20.Kf2 f6 and White cannot save the rook. The result turned out to be the same as their last rated game encounter at 11th Norway Chess 2023.

Caruana’s surprising 6...Na5 crumples Magnus! | Video: Saint Louis Chess Club

Magnus Carlsen (NOR) has now lost two rated games in-a-row against Fabiano Caruana (USA)

Ian Nepomniachtchi - Alireza Firouzja (FRA): 2-0

Anand - Saric: 2-0

Croatia no.1, GM Ivan Saric (2635) was one of the few players whom Vishy Anand (2731) had never defeated in a rated game. They played only two rated games, both in rapid format. Saric won the first one in World Rapid 2018 and their last encounter was at the very same event which ended in a draw. It was time for the maestro to improve that statistics.

Position after 36...Nc7

White is winning in the above position. Find out the finish for White after 36...Nc7.

Vishy Anand maintained his sole lead 7/8 after Round 4 by winning against Ivan Saric (CRO)

D Gukesh survived a difficult position against Richard Rapport (ROU)

Round 5: Firouzja - Carlsen: 2-0

The last time Alireza Firouzja (FRA, 2745) defeated Magnus Carlsen (NOR, 2829) in a rated game was at the very same event last year in Blitz. They have played only two rated Rapid games against each other. Both of them were won by the world no.1.

Position after 18...Qxd7

Black played wildly out of the opening and landed himself in an inferior position. 19.dxe5 dxe5 20.Nf3 Qc7 21.Nxg5 did not help Black's case.

Position after 44...a3

The game eventually liquidated into a queen endgame which was winning for White after 45.Bxe5 fxe5. A bit of back and forth play later, White converted his advantage into a win.

Alireza Firouzja defeated Magnus Carlsen which was his second defeat of the day

Constantin Lupulescu (ROU) blundered an exchange and Gukesh won the game with ease | Photo: Bryan Adams/Grand Chess Tour

Fabiano Caruana (USA) - Vishy Anand: 1-1

Carlsen - Anand, Round 6

Position after 20.Nb5

19...Nfe7 allowed White to gain a pawn 20.Nb5 Qb6 21.Nxa7! It did not give White a decisive advantage immediately. However, it played a crucial role in White scoring the victory eventually in a rook and few pawns endgame.

Magnus Carlsen vs Vishy Anand - The Rivalry continues, analysis by IM Sagar Shah | Video: ChessBase India

Magnus Carlsen ended Vishy Anand's unbeaten run at this event
Gukesh’s GCT debut! ‘I want to have a good performance’ | Video: Saint Louis Chess Club

Fabiano Caruana (USA) finished the day with a victory over Jan-Krzysztof Duda (POL) to join the three-way lead 8/12
Nepo's perfect day: Better to be confident, than not! | Video: Saint Louis Chess Club

Photo Gallery

Zvonimir Frka-Petešić, Head of the Prime-Minister's office, made the ceremonial first move on Carlsen-Caruana's board

Magnus Carlsen arranging the pieces after finishing the day with a win

A reflection of Duda?

Ivan Saric and Jan-Krzysztof Duda having a chat after their game

Magnus Carlsen remain frozen for nearly 17 seconds
Replay Superbet Rapid and Blitz Day 2 Live commentary by IM Sagar Shah and Amruta Mokal | Video: ChessBase India
Replay Superbet Rapid and Blitz Day 2 Live commentary by GMs Yasser Seirawan, Evgenij Miroshnichenko, Cristian Chirila, IM Nazi Paikidze and WGM Anastasiya Karlovich | Video: Saint Louis Chess Club

Replay Rapid Round 4-6 games

Round 6 results

Bo.No.Rtg NameResultName RtgNo.PGN
GMCarlsen, Magnus2 - 0GMAnand, Viswanathan
GMDuda, Jan-Krzysztof0 - 2GMCaruana, Fabiano
GMGukesh, D2 - 0GMSaric, Ivan
GMNepomniachtchi, Ian2 - 0GMLupulescu, Constantin
GMFirouzja, Alireza1 - 1GMRapport, Richard


Standings after Rapid Round 6

Fabiano Caruana and Ian Nepomniachtchi joined Vishy Anand in the lead 8/12 | Photo: Grand Chess Tour

Round 7 pairings

Bo.No.Rtg NameResultName RtgNo.PGN
GMRapport, RichardGMCarlsen, Magnus
GMLupulescu, ConstantinGMFirouzja, Alireza
GMSaric, IvanGMNepomniachtchi, Ian
GMCaruana, FabianoGMGukesh, D
GMAnand, ViswanathanGMDuda, Jan-Krzysztof


Superbet Rapid and Blitz 2023 schedule | Source: Official site


The total prize fund for each of the Rapid and Blitz event is US$ 175000 with the first prize being US$ 40000.

Prize details | Source: Official site


Official site

Tournament regulations

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