World No. 9 GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov scored the only victory of the day today as he defeated GM Constantin Lupulescu with the Black pieces, catching up to the leaders with a score of 3.0/5. With all four other games drawn, Mamedyarov, So, and Grischuk lead the event heading into the first and only rest day.
Deac - So
A theoretical pawn sacrifice in the QGD Vienna left Deac with a microscopic edge in a known rook endgame, but So was well-prepared and was able to equalize without any difficulties. The game soon simplified and the players drew after about 90 minutes of play.
Radjabov - Grischuk
This game also took place in a highly theoretical variation of the Queen’s Gambit Declined, where deep preparation by Grischuk allowed him to neutralize Radjabov’s efforts to play for an advantage. Despite White’s extra exchange, Radjabov could not make any progress, and the game quickly simplified into a dead-drawn position.
Caruana - Giri
Facing the ultra-solid Berlin Variation, Caruana opted for the rare move 9.Qe2, which is not considered dangerous for Black but does come with some surprise value. With a pawn majority on the kingside for White, Giri had to be careful not to allow too many exchanges and end up in a losing king and pawn endgame. Despite going into a somewhat tricky rook ending, Giri managed to defend accurately and eventually held a draw thanks to his precise play.
Aronian - Vachier-Lagrave
The players started out with a Symmetrical English, though the game quickly became imbalanced as Aronian took on an isolated queen pawn in exchange for active piece play in the middlegame. Although MVL was able to win the weak pawn almost immediately, White had full compensation for the sacrifice, and soon Black was forced to give the pawn back in order to equalize. Aronian kept some pressure all the way into the endgame, and eventually even won an extra pawn of his own, but the position was too simplified to provide any real chances, and MVL held the draw without huge difficulty.
Lupulescu - Mamedyarov
In the only decisive game of the day, an enterprising approach to the opening paid off for Mamedyarov, as he was able to reach a fresh and unbalanced position with chances for both sides. After quite a bit of strategic maneuvering in the middlegame, the players started running low on time as they approached the first time control, with Mamedyarov beginning to outplay Lupulescu. On move 33 Mamedyarov found his chance to open up the position, seizing an opportunity to triple his heavy pieces on the g-file. With little time Lupulescu missed a devious tactical detail, and his kingside simply collapsed just a few moves later.
After 33...e5! Black opened up his rook on d6 to access the g-file
With a rest day tomorrow, June 10, Round 6 will take place on Friday, June 11.
The coverage of the 2021 Superbet Chess Classic continues Friday, June 11, 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/