Superbet Chess Classic: Grischuk, Mamedyarov Strike Again
A view of the playing hall. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

Superbet Chess Classic: Grischuk, Mamedyarov Strike Again

| 19 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and GM Alexander Grischuk moved to plus two and are sharing the lead at the Superbet Chess Classic with three rounds to go. Mamedyarov profited from tactical oversights by GM Levon Aronian while Grischuk outplayed GM Constantin Lupulescu.

GM Wesley So is now in third place with 3.5/6. GM Fabiano Caruana, GM Bogdan-Daniel Deac, and GM Teimour Radjabov have only a slim hope of winning the event with a 50-percent score.

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

Superbet Chess Classic 2021 round 7
Round seven pairings (Saturday): Caruana vs. Mamedyarov, Aronian vs. Grischuk, Radjabov vs. So, Giri vs. Vachier-Lagrave, Lupulescu vs. Deac.

"All this leadership is an illusion," said Grischuk when he had won his game in round seven. A political or sociological interpretation isn't necessary; the 37-year-old Russian grandmaster was simply referring to what he feels is a rather fragile high place in the standings.

"I don't have too much optimism with such play. Let's just see," he added, unhappy about some of his moves in what looked like a very smooth and easy victory against Lupulescu.

Alexander Grischuk Superbet Chess Classic 2021
Alexander Grischuk. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

After choosing the French twice, the Romanian GM played another line of his repertoire: the Classical Sicilian. However, he failed to notice the venom behind Grischuk's rare pawn push on move 16. White was much better out of the opening when Grischuk came up with the wonderful idea 18.Qe1 after 42 minutes of thinking.

Grischuk pointed out that five moves later much had changed in Black's favor (at least visually), but one more mistake by Lupulescu led to a quick win anyway.

Constantin Lupulescu Superbet Rauzer
Constantin Lupulescu. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

That was the second loss in a row for Lupulescu, who missed Mamedyarov's nice combination the other day. The Azerbaijani didn't need to be so creative in the next round because Aronian was simply missing too many basic tactics. An off-day, if you will, for the Armenian player.

"I think he just missed one move," said Mamedyarov. "He played very good chess here. I think after 18.Rfe1 he thought every move is near to the draw, but it's not like that. He needs to play some moves very accurately."

Aronian was already a pawn down unnecessarily when he blundered another one, playing 22...Re8 in the diagram position after just five seconds. He must have planned it all along when calculating his 19th move.

22...Re8 allowed 23.Rxe8+ Bxe8 24.Bxf7+!

GM Garry Kasparov suggested that Aronian's oversights were related to the many online quickplay events during the pandemic as he described 22...Re8: "I have the impression that it is connected to online practice because this is kind of a move you make there. It's a blitz move."

Garry Kasparov chess
Kasparov blamed online blitz for Aronian's blunders. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.
Levon Aronian blunder Bucharest
Aronian, "blundering in Bucharest." Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

If our Game of the Day is one of the draws, it means there was something about it. The middlegame position is so wild that we decided to pick this one.

The players (and especially Caruana) were less excited since early in the game, GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave mixed up the move order while Caruana missed a win, so both had reason not to be satisfied.

"This was just a ridiculous game. What can I say about it?" Caruana started his interview strongly before explaining that he had played a line that used to be dubious for Black but was brought back to life, thanks to modern computer engines.

"This analysis can't be found just by the human mind; you have to involve some computers," he said.

Vachier-Lagrave Caruana 2021 Superbet
A game that attracted a lot of attention. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

After 19...f5 White was in grave danger, "maybe borderline losing," according to a disappointed Caruana: "It was a chance. An unexpected chance, sort of an accident. It was just an opening hiccup from his side. But yeah, 22...Nd3 missing 25.Bf4 was really kind of gross."

Vachier-Lagrave said: "I'm not surprised that, once I know I mixed up the move order, that this would lose for me." The Frenchman had a clear answer to a question about his strategy for the remaining rounds: "Remembering my lines fully and accurately, this would be a good start!"

MVL Caruana Bucharest 2021
Caruana: “I am honestly kind of lucky that I have this (draw).” Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

GM Wesley So tried very hard to keep pace with Grischuk and Mamedyarov as he tried in vain to win a knight endgame with a pawn up. Eventually, he had to settle for a draw with GM Anish Giri. As Kasparov noted the other day, Giri is a good defender.

So Giri Bucharest 2021
So vs. Giri was the longest game of the round. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

Although he had shown quite a bit of fighting spirit earlier in the tournament, GM Bogdan-Daniel Deac decided not to go all out against GM Teimour Radjabov. As the rating underdog, the 19-year-old Romanian can hardly be blamed for choosing the innocuous 5.Re1 against the Berlin. Radjabov, once again, seemed to be quite content with splitting the point as well.

Playing hall Superbet Chess Classic
Another view of the playing hall. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

Superbet Chess Classic 2021 | Round 6 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Alexander Grischuk 2776 2845 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 4.0/6 11.5
2 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 2770 2849 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 4.0/6 11.25
3 Wesley So 2770 2817 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ 3.5/6
4 Teimour Radjabov 2765 2756 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 3.0/6 9.5
5 Bogdan-Daniel Deac 2627 2770 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 3.0/6 9
6 Fabiano Caruana 2820 2752 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 3.0/6 7.25
7 Anish Giri 2780 2679 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 0 2.5/6 7.5
8 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2760 2680 ½ ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ 2.5/6 7.25
9 Levon Aronian 2781 2701 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 2.5/6 6.75
10 Constantin Lupulescu 2656 2660 0 0 0 1 ½ ½ 2.0/6

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.

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