World No. 5 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov finished with 6.0/9 points to win 1st place in the 2021 Superbet Chess Classic, clinching victory after a draw with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the final round. Tying for second place were Levon Aronian, Wesley So, and Alexander Grischuk, who each drew their last-round games to finish with 5.0/9.
The win earns Mamedyarov a first-place prize of $90,000 and a total of 13 Grand Chess Tour points.
Vachier-Lagrave - Mamedyarov ½-½
The French No. 1 chose the ultra-solid Four Knights Scotch and promptly took the game into a drawish endgame. Needing only a draw to secure 1st place, Mamedyarov decided to trade off one of his bishops to enter a worse position but with opposite-colored bishops. The players soon repeated moves, though according to the engines MVL certainly could have played on, holding a big advantage at the end of the game.
Aronian - Radjabov ½-½
Another quick draw as the players repeated moves in a known line of the Berlin Defense. A solid but somewhat unfortunate result for Radjabov, who finished the event with nine draws, many occurring from theoretical lines in the opening.
Lupulescu - So ½-½
A solid line of the 4.Qc2 Nimzo gave Lupulescu a small structural advantage, but So had plenty of activity to compensate for his slightly weakened king. Neither player was able to generate any chance and the game finished in a repetition shortly before the first time control.
Giri - Grischuk ½-½
The game saw an interesting variant of the Italian Game left Giri with a bit of pressure in the middlegame. Things stayed relatively balanced, with the exception of one moment where Giri could have secured a nice strategic advantage. After missing this chance the game soon saw massive trades, petering out into an equal endgame.
Caruana - Deac ½-½
In the longest game of the day, Caruana chose the King’s Indian Attack, an opening where White typically tries to build up a slow but deadly attack on the kingside. While Deac successfully defended against the kingside pressure, he allowed Fabiano some chances in the endgame. Unfortunately, for World No. 2 it wasn’t enough, and after 74 moves of play the game finished with just bare kings on the board.
Text: IM Kostya Kavutskiy
Photo: Grand Chess Tour, Lennart Ootes and Bryan Adams
Official website: grandchesstour.org/