It was an exciting day of chess as Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Alexander Grischuk both won their games today to remain in the lead after Round 6 of the 2021 Superbet Chess Classic. The two leaders are currently on 4.0/6, while previous co-leader Wesley So is just a half-point behind with three rounds left to play.
Vachier-Lagrave - Caruana
An extremely sharp Neo-Moller Variation of the Ruy Lopez tested the opening preparation of both players, where Vachier-Lagrave was the first to slip, mixing up his move order in a critical position (18.f4 instead of 18.Rg5). Caruana spotted the opportunity to seize the initiative, but faltered a few moves later, allowing MVL back into the game. After Fabiano's slip, neither player had chances to play for a win and a repetition was forced to draw the game.
Mamedyarov - Aronian
A surprising blunder from Aronian allowed Mamedyarov to win two pawns and achieve a virtually decisive advantage, with the safer king in addition to the extra material. Despite resistance from Aronian, the win was never in doubt and Mamedyarov won his second game of the event, moving to a +2 score.
Aronian played 22...Re8, which allowed 23.Rxe8+ Bxe8 24.Bxf7!
Deac - Radjabov
A quiet 5.Re1 Berlin led to a symmetrical position out of the opening, with neither player able to create any real imbalance. After most of the pieces were traded off on the open e-file, the game was eventually drawn in an equal king and pawn endgame.
Grischuk - Lupulescu
In a complex Richter-Rauzer Sicilian Grischuk managed to pose some serious problems for Lupulescu, who made a strategic mistake with 17...Bb5, trading off light-squared bishops. After the trade of bishops, White was able to dominate the light-squares in the center, which soon led to material losses for Black. Facing a trade of queens into a hopeless endgame, Lupulescu resigned, giving Grischuk his second win of the event as well.
So - Giri
The last game of the day to finish saw Wesley So pressing his advantage for many moves in a slightly better endgame. Despite winning an extra pawn, So wasn’t able to generate much progress, as Giri defended with fantastic precision, keeping his pieces active throughout the endgame. The game was later drawn after all the pawns were finally traded off.
The coverage of the 2021 Superbet Chess Classic continues Saturday, June 12, at 6:50 AM CDT with live coverage from GMs Alejandro Ramirez, Yasser Seirawan, and Maurice Ashley on grandchesstour.org/live.
Text: IM Kostya Kavutskiy
Photo: Grand Chess Tour, Lennart Ootes
Official website: grandchesstour.org/