Missed Chances Mark Another Day Full Of Draws In Bucharest


Another round with five draws at the Superbet Chess Classic Romania saw several missed chances. GM Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu was completely winning for one move but failed to spot the required queen sortie against GM Wesley So. Another hard-to-find tactic, good for a clear advantage, was possible for GM Gukesh Dommaraju vs. GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov.

Round six starts Tuesday, July 2, at 8 a.m. ET / 14:00 CEST / 17:30 p.m. IST.

Superbet Chess Classic Romania Round 5 Results

Superbet Chess Classic Romania Round 5 Results
Image courtesy of the Saint Louis Chess Club/Grand Chess Tour.

Superbet Chess Classic Romania Standings After Round 5

Superbet Chess Classic Romania Standings After Round 5
Image courtesy of the Saint Louis Chess Club/Grand Chess Tour.

Just when GM Garry Kasparov gave his support the other day for classical chess, where players can “realize their full potential to put on display what they can do,” all 10 games ended in draws this weekend. The lack of decisive results seems to be the result of a fairly solid approach by most, although there were still some possibilities to score on Sunday.

So ½-½ Praggnanandhaa

Our Game of the Day saw the biggest chance, where Praggnanandhaa had to recognize the geometrical motif of a lateral followed by a diagonal queen move that would have left So without a defense. Asked if he had spotted the move, the Indian GM answered: “No, should have” and later noted that, with five minutes on the clock, he should have spent more time there.

It was Kasparov who had inspired Praggnanandhaa in the opening: “I decided to play the King’s Indian because Garry played the move on our board, so why not?”

I decided to play the King’s Indian because Garry played the move on our board, so why not?
—Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu

When So pointed out to the 13th world champion that they weren’t representing the youngest board (see Saturday’s report for that reference), Kasparov noted that he didn’t mind meeting some more of the grandmasters playing in Bucharest.

GM Dejan Bojkov’s annotations below analyze the Game of the Day:

Chess.com Game of the Day Dejan Bojkov

 Garry Kasparov first move Bucharest

Kasparov trading jokes with So and Praggnanandhaa. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

Vachier-Lagrave ½-½ Caruana

One player who was willing to take some risk is the tournament leader: GM Fabiano Caruana played the double-edged 5…Nxe4 and 6…Be7 line in the Ruy Lopez.

“It’s probably a statistical gamble but since we’re talking about top players, I think they’ve really calculated that this risk pays off,” Kasparov noted about the willingness to gamble a bit by modern top players. This remark is also relevant for the line Caruana played, which was sharp but still not comparable with some of the lines in the Najdorf. A calculated risk.

It was quite topical in 2019, when Caruana first faced it as White vs. GM Magnus Carlsen and later played it himself against GM Hikaru Nakamura, and then Carlsen tried it one more time against GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

The Frenchman, therefore, must have been well-prepared for it, so he didn’t need to think twice about a positional exchange sacrifice on the e5-square. Caruana, on his turn, knew that the rook shouldn’t be taken as Black’s dark squares are too weak.

Just before the queens were traded, the engine claims that Caruana played a serious inaccuracy which was not picked up by Vachier-Lagrave, but it takes a deep dive into the position to understand it.

Vachier-Lagrave Caruana Bucharest 2024
Vachier-Lagrave and Caruana starting their game. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

Giri ½-½ Firouzja

It was quite a theoretical round in general. GMs Anish Giri and Alireza Firouzja followed an earlier game by Giri, in the Warsaw leg of this year’s Grand Chess Tour, for 21 moves. The players went straight into an endgame where White is much more active, in return for a pawn.

Kasparov said he had been chatting with Dutch GM Jan Smeets, Giri’s second, and that they joked that if Giri sacrificed a pawn, it’s probably triple computer-checked. And indeed, White had plenty of compensation but never more than that.

Deac ½-½ Nepomniachtchi

This game saw an Open Catalan with 13 moves of theory followed by a queen trade. When more pieces left the board, it seemed like the game that would end in a draw the quickest. Who would have guessed this was going to be the longest game of the round?

GM Ian Nepomniachtchi wanted to play for a win in this game with GM Bogdan-Daniel Deac. Although the Russian GM got quite far and eventually reached a RN-R ending, Deac held it easily.

Deac Nepomniachtchi
Once again, Deac survived the pressure of many hours. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

Gukesh ½-½ Abdusattorov

Kasparov didn’t have any doubt that Gukesh’s quiet opening system with a fianchetto on the kingside is a clear sign that the Candidates winner is already hiding his preparation before his world championship match. Even so, thanks to some nice piece maneuvering, Gukesh got an advantage against Abdusattorov, whose play was perhaps more ambitious but also less solid.

After Gukesh missed a tactical possibility on move 27, the game soon was equal and remained so until deep in the rook endgame.

Gukesh Abdusattorov Bucharest
Gukesh, already saving his best openings for November? Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

The 2024 Superbet Chess Classic Romania is the second leg of the 2024 Grand Chess Tour. The event is a 10-player round-robin with classical time control (120 minutes for the entire game, plus a 30-second increment per move). The tournament runs June 26-July 5 and features a $350,000 prize fund.


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