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Korobov leads, Vishy fights back

by Satanick Mukhuty - 08/11/2019

The second day of Superbet Rapid and Blitz produced quite a few exciting results. The strong Grandmaster Anton Korobov from Ukraine rampaged through the field to take sole lead after day two of the event. Vishy Anand started with a loss but showed some tremendous psychological resilience and high class endgame technique in the very next round to make a strong comeback. The 21-year-old Russian wunderkind Vladislav Artemiev recovered well after first day's dismal performance to stun Anish Giri and Fabiano Caruana back-to-back in rounds five and six. Things are definitely starting to heat up at the Romania Grand Chess Tour 2019, in this detailed report we bring you the glimpses of the latest action through photos, games, and more.

A killer Korobov dominates!

Anton Korobov has emerged as the unheralded leader after the completion of six rounds of Superbelt Rapid and Blitz here in Bucharest, Romania. The Ukrainian Grandmaster overtook Anish Giri by registering two very important victories against Vishy Anand and Wesley So in the second day of the event and taking his score to nine out of a total twelve points. In round four against Vishy, Korobov played an absolutely scintillating game to convincingly dominate the five-time World Champion and clinched the full point in just 27 moves. However against Wesley So, in the final round of the day, things did get a little tricky as the newly crowned World Champion of Fischer Random Chess found an edge early on out of the opening and by move 19 was clearly better. But Korobov continued putting up stiff resistance and on move 28 the Filipino-American player finally cracked.  

Anton Korobov - the man of the hour - has all the reasons to smile. After all, it is not often that you get to beat two World Champions in a single day! | Photto: Lennart Ootes

Anton Korobov - Vishy Anand, Round 4

The Indian maestro showed some excellent handling of the Ragozin variation of Queen's Gambit Declined to not only equalize out of the opening but also take a slight initiative. In the above position, for instance, 14...Nb8! intending Nd7-c5 was an excellent idea.

But as Vishy consolidated his queenside, Korobov lashed out on the other side of the board with moves like Rg1 and g2-g4-g5!

20.g6! threatening gxf7+ was clearly an ultimatum. Black could have chosen to continue solidly over here with 20...fxg6 or even 20...Rf8 but in the game 20...f5 was played which turned out to be the most critical blunder.

White immediately pounced at the opportunity and went Ng5 followed by Nf7!

With 23.Rg5 Black was totally clamped down and his fate sealed. Resignation came only four moves from here when the white queen too joined the foray on the kingside. Check out the full game below.

Wesley So is not having the greatest of time in Bucharest. He came close to stopping the Korobov rampage but his efforts fell short in the end | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Vishy bounces back immediately after defeat

What was perhaps as impressive as Korobov's inspiring play was the way how Vishy Anand made a comeback in the very next round after defeat by outplaying Levon Aronian in a long rook-knight endgame. The Indian had the white pieces in this encounter and enjoyed a comfortable edge throughout the game but around move 30 things really seemed to be fizzling out into a draw. But the Madras Tiger kept the pressure going, kept improving his pieces one step at a time and finally after a 79-move long grind the Armenian no.1 called it a day.

Vishy proved yet again that he still is on the top of his game and can beat anyone any day | Photo: Lennart Ootes 

Vishy Anand - Levon Aronian, Round 5

The above position doesn't seem particularly promising for a win but endgames can be tricky. What would you play as Black here?

Well, White is up a pawn and therefore Black has to always look out for activity if he hopes to hold this game. Aronian played 31...Kf7? in the game and this gave Vishy just what he needed - a chance to regroup his pieces in the best possible way. 32.Ng5+ Kg6 33.Nf3 was played next and White's pieces and pawns were all nicely defended. The correct way would have been 31...h6 after which the e6 knight suddenly doesn't feel all that comfortable.


Analysis board

With the g5 square taken away, the e6 knight becomes quite misplaced on e6 and it seems Black will soon be able to regain the pawn on d4! If White chooses to counter attack with 32.Rb1 then after 32...Nd3 33.Rb3 Nxf2! as well Black is perfectly fine.

Levon missed 31...h6 and also a few other critical moves thereafter and was completely pushed to the wall. The full game with tactical analysis can be viewed below:

Photo Gallery

The sensational Russian star Vladislav Artemiev was another player to grab eyeballs in the second day of the event as he defeated Anish Giri and World no.2 Fabiano Caruana back-to-back in rounds five and six | Photo: Lennart Ootes 

Giri and Artemiev analysing after their game. Check this full encounter below. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Anish Giri defeated Le Quang Liem in round four and after losing to Artemiev in round five drew his last game against Anand | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Fabiano Caruana shares the third place jointly with Vishy | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov is yet to win a game and has scored 5.0/12 points so far | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Sergey Karjakin is languishing at the bottom of the table along with Le Quang Liem and Wesley So | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Results of day two

The first round of the day turned out to be most exciting with four out of five encounters reaching decisive result. 

Vishy's comeback win against Aronian was the highlight of round five .

Artemiev and Korobov both stunned their higher rated opponents in the final round of the day.

Standings after day two

Korobov - a wildcard entrant in the event - has surprisingly emerged as the sole leader. He is closely followed by Anish Giri, Fabiano and Vishy come thereafter. 

Related news:
Superbet Rapid and Blitz: Aronian is the champion, Vishy steals the show on final day

@ 11/11/2019 by Satanick Mukhuty (en)
Le Quang Liem dominates Superbet Blitz

@ 10/11/2019 by Satanick Mukhuty (en)
Anton Korobov is the unbeaten champion of Superbet Rapid

@ 09/11/2019 by Satanick Mukhuty (en)
Anish Giri takes lead, Vishy gets a head start

@ 07/11/2019 by Satanick Mukhuty (en)
Live games of Superbet Rapid and Blitz 2019

@ 06/11/2019 by Satanick Mukhuty (en)

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