Superbet Chess Classic: Leaders Caruana, Deac Lose
Wesley So beat Fabiano Caruana. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

Superbet Chess Classic: Leaders Caruana, Deac Lose

| 29 | Chess Event Coverage

The Superbet Chess Classic is wide open again after both tournament leaders GM Fabiano Caruana and GM Bogdan-Daniel Deac lost their games. Caruana was defeated by GM Wesley So, and Deac went down against GM Alexander Grischuk.

The quick draw between compatriots GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and GM Teimour Radjabov wasn't surprising, and a point was also split in GM Anish Giri vs. GM Levon Aronian and GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave vs. GM Constantin Lupulescu.

How to watch?
The games of the Superbet Chess Classic can be found here on our live events platform.

Superbet Classic Chess round 5 pairings
Round 5 pairings: Deac vs. So, Radjabov vs. Grischuk, Lupulescu vs. Mamedyarov, Caruana vs. Giri, Aronian vs. Vachier-Lagrave

The topic of quick, theoretical draws continued to be the talk of the town in round four. It was fueled further by the non-game between Mamedyarov and Radjabov, who had stated before that they find it hard to play against each other.

The good thing was that this time, Radjabov did provide some comments as to his approach to the tournament so far. We give it in full:

"To be honest, I certainly didn't think much about the schedule but I think for me, I wouldn't say for my age but generally, for me this kind of schedule is very unusual. I really have a lot of tournaments to play. I was used to, in the years before the pandemic, maybe to play a few tournaments in a year and this time it was like, as I said, every month there was a tournament, a few very exhausting tournaments in a row, the Champions Tour stuff.

"Sometimes I just kind of think that it's better if you don't have any special, specific ideas to play against world top players and get in some kind of trouble. It's just better to make draws and wait for your chance to come or maybe, probably they will also push as White and so on. So I don't really think about the critics and all these guys. I have played many times very beautiful and nice games. The public was entertained and then they said there is no point to invite him because he is not rated quite there in the top. So I know it's just a professional thing that I'm doing from time to time because I just think that if I don't have an idea I will not push, in terms of, against the top players in the world, it's very risky.

Teimour Radjabov Superbet draws
Teimour Radjabov. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

"And here, to be honest, I'm generally quite exhausted. We'll see if I can recover my energy before the next rounds and try to push in some games of course. Usually, my style really allows it because I'm mostly a tactical player; let's be objective, the King's Indian is in my style, and so on.

"I certainly do not enjoy this kind of draws, but chess is a game where you should really work on your repertoire, have ideas, especially on the top level, and I know that it ends pretty badly when you're without the ideas and just telling yourself 'I want to play chess, I want to play something playable, I just want to fight' and so on. You got for some b3 stuff that I did against Giri in the Champions Tour, let's say, which just backfired, and let's say in just 15 moves I was just lost. I'm not enjoying it, certainly, but I don't care at all about what the critics say."

Later in the day, Radjabov also tweeted about it:

GM Garry Kasparov, who is in Romania and is the brainchild of the Grand Chess Tour, was asked how important it is that the style of those players invited is combative enough. The 13th world champion replied:

"It goes without saying but if you have players who are willing to take risks, it’s better for chess, it’s better for the organizers. I think it’s not fair to separate players by style because it’s not so much about the style; you can have aggressive players that are very peaceful in this tournament, for instance. Or you can have players that are solid but they want to fight.

It’s about fighting spirit. The spirit is more important than the style. What I want to see is players playing the game till the last pawn, whether they do it by sacrificing the pawn or by protecting the pawns. As long as they stay at the board, I am quite happy."

Garry Kasparov Superbet Chess Classic
Garry Kasparov. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

In the all-American clash, So defeated Caruana and was humble as always about his win. Besides thanking the Lord, which he does regularly after winning a game, So also literally apologized to Caruana after he had just beaten him.

The second-ranked American defeated the top-rated American with 1.c4, saying: "He plays five defenses against 1.e4; I could name all of them. He plays five defenses against 1.d4; I could name all of them!"

He wasn't sure about his opening play when he had to sacrifice a pawn, but So got good compensation as two of Caruana's minor pieces became passive on the kingside. That soon turned the game around, especially combined with the Akiba Rubinstein'esque move 23.Qc1!! (the great Polish master played this key move in famous games that he won against world champions Jose Capablanca and Emanuel Lasker).

Wesley So Superbet Chess Classic 2021
An excellent game by Wesley So. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

The other leader, Deac, lost his first game. He made the decisive mistake against Grischuk deep in the endgame, so the young Romanian can actually look back at a fourth very decent game against one of the top players in the world.

For a long time, White's advantage was minimal in what was a very standard isolated queen's pawn position. It was understandable that, on move 22, Deac didn't fancy playing with a queen and two rooks, but that was probably the easiest route to a draw. In the game, Grischuk could grind until eternity, waiting for the mistake.

Grischuk-Deac Superbet chess
Grischuk-Deac. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

The other Romanian player repeated his French Defense and had surely fixed his line in which he lost quickly to Caruana the other day. Vachier-Lagrave decided not to test him on that with 4.Bg5 but chose the mainline with 4.e5 instead. Also here, Lupulescu had done his homework well and also avoided a trap set by MVL later in the game.

Mihai Leu chess
Another celebrity took the stage in round four. This time it was Mihai Leu, a former WBO Welterweight Champion. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

Giri missed a chance to score his first win in the tournament. His modest pawn move novelty in a Catalan suddenly became quite effective when Aronian chose incorrectly while looking at the infamous "which rook" problem.

"I reacted well for a while," said Giri, who felt he had a "dominant position," but then he "started missing moves." Aronian's 20...g5 was especially quite effective.

"It's a pity," said Giri. "I had an enormous chance, and the position is so easy to play."

Giri Aronian Superbet Chess Classic 2021
Giri vs. Aronian. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

Superbet Chess Classic 2021 | Round 4 Standings

# Fed Player Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Wesley So 2770 2875 ½ ½ 1 ½ 2.5/4 5.25
2 Alexander Grischuk 2776 2820 ½ ½ 1 ½ 2.5/4 5
3 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 2770 2735 ½ ½ ½ ½ 2.0/4 4.5
4 Fabiano Caruana 2820 2743 0 ½ ½ 1 2.0/4 4
5 Levon Aronian 2781 2757 ½ ½ ½ ½ 2.0/4 4
6 Teimour Radjabov 2765 2782 ½ ½ ½ ½ 2.0/4 3.5
7 Constantin Lupulescu 2656 2785 0 ½ ½ 1 2.0/4 3.25
8 Bogdan-Daniel Deac 2627 2771 0 ½ 1 ½ 2.0/4 3.25
9 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2760 2618 ½ ½ ½ 0 1.5/4 3.25
10 Anish Giri 2780 2619 ½ ½ 0 ½ 1.5/4 3

All games

The Superbet Chess Classic takes place June 5-14, 2021 in Bucharest, Romania. The time control is 90 minutes for 40 moves followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game with a 30-second increment per move, starting from move one. It is the first leg of the Grand Chess Tour and has a $325,000 prize fund.

Previous reports:

Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

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