Anand Captures Early Lead –

Anand Captures Early Lead -


GM Viswanathan Anand emerged as the early leader, defeating GMs Richard Rapport and Constantin Lupulescu on day one of the SuperUnited Rapid and Blitz Croatia 2023

Rapport himself beat GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda, the previous leader, in the last round of the day, wrecking Duda’s 2-0 start. Both of these competitors are tied for second along with GM Magnus Carlsen, who had a less turbulent day, defeating GM Gukesh D. and drawing vs. GMs Ian Nepomniachtchi and Ivan Saric

The action continues with rounds four, five, and six of the rapid portion on Thursday, July 6, at 6:00 a.m. Pacific/15:00 CEST.

How to watch

You can watch live games of the SuperUnited Croatia Rapid & Blitz 2023 on our Events Page. The rounds start each day at 6:00 a.m. Pacific/15:00 CEST.

The SuperUnited Croatia Rapid & Blitz is the third leg of the Grand Chess Tour and the finale of its European component. The tournament features five GCT mainstays and five wild cards, including former world champions, Carlsen and Anand. 

The full list of participants. Image:

The event also gives local fans a chance to get in on the action by playing a simul vs. the competitors.

The opening ceremony was an elegant affair broadcasted live on the national television of Croatia, featuring the Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and the founder of the Grand Chess Tour, GM Garry Kasparov.

An aesthetic way to draw lots at the opening ceremony. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

In the early rounds, the players showed that they have arrived ready to play fascinating, decisive chess. 

High spirits as the event kicks off. Photo: Lennart Ootes / Grand Chess Tour.

Carlsen, Rapport, and Duda scored the first victories in round one. In a nearly equal ending, GM Fabiano Caruana blundered, offering Rapport an unexpected opportunity. Can you find it?

White to move and win.

Carlsen played ambitiously with Black vs. Gukesh, rolling connected pawns up the board and challenging his prodigy opponent to a chaotic fight early in the middlegame. 

Carlsen is happy to inspire the next generation of chess players. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

When Gukesh chose a visually appealing yet ultimately inaccurate dynamic setup, Carlsen pounced on his opportunity to arise ahead two center pawns. The Indian grandmaster regained one of the pawns but at the cost of neglecting his kingside, and Carlsen’s pieces soon crashed through to chase down the white king. 

Carlsen shared his thoughts about his 17-year-old opponent: “He’s so young. I think his play, especially in faster time controls, is going to go up and down. Right now, he’s struggling, but I’m sure he will strike back quickly as his general understanding of the game is very good.”

Carlsen believes in the aspiring Gukesh despite his tough start to the event. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

Duda utilized Nepomniachtchi’s overextended position (due to an early h4-h5 push) to grab an extra pawn in the middlegame and traded into a queen and rook ending. The former challenger tried to set up sneaky perpetual check ideas, but Duda was vigilant of his kingside while progressing his passer down the board until promotion was unstoppable. 

In round two, Duda claimed the sole lead, defeating GM Alireza Firouzja with a successful pawn-grabbing expedition, diving his queen deep into the enemy queenside and escaping unscathed. 

Anand also went pawn hunting vs. Rapport, trusting his calculation abilities as he swung his queen across the board to snatch one pawn and then another. In the endgame, Anand marched his passer down the board supported by his rooks and far-reaching bishop pair. The 15th world champion’s magnificent victory is our Game of the Day, and is analyzed by GM Rafael Leitao below.

Caruana vs. Lupulescu was a wildly topsy-turvy duel. Caruana had the upper hand in the middlegame, but Lupulescu kept his pieces active and aware, seizing his chances to complicate the game at multiple points. The evaluation bar swung up and down as their clocks raced towards zero and back up infused by the increment until Caruana emerged from the chaos on top. 

Caruana shared his feelings on this mind-boggling game: “I wish I could tell you. I really don’t know. I know that I was probably losing, and I know that I was definitely winning. And I blundered many things. In the first two games, I blundered obscene amounts of moves.”

What just happened? Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

In the third round, Rapport defeated Duda, noticing an opportunity to trap his knight in the center of the board.

This opened up the top of the scoreboard, and Anand seized the chance to leapfrog into the lead, defeating Lupulescu by ambushing his queenside after an inaccuracy. 

Though struggling, Caruana escaped a challenging position vs. Saric with timely dynamic counterplay. Can you find the idea he discovered to begin to change his fate?

Black to move.

Standings – Round 3

The 15th world champion towers above the rest of the competitors. Who will challenge him for the lead as the rapid segment continues?

All Games – Day 1

The SuperUnited Rapid & Blitz Croatia 2023 is the third leg of the Grand Chess Tour (GCT). The event will start on July 3 at 6 a.m. PT/15:00 CEST, featuring Magnus Carlsen and Viswanathan Anand as wild cards along with Tour mainstays like Alireza Firouzja, Ian Nepomniachtchi, and more top-notch competitors battling it out for their share of the $175,000 prize fund.


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