Round 4 of the 2021 Superbet Chess Classic saw two new leaders emerge, as Wesley So and Alexander Grischuk both won their games against the previous day’s leaders, Fabiano Caruana and Bogdan-Daniel Deac. With the three other games drawn, So and Grischuk now lead the field with 2.5/4, heading into the halfway mark of the tournament.
Standings after Round 4
Check out the full replay of live coverage from the day here. The time control for the event is 90/40, SD 30, with a 30-second increment for both sides starting from move one.
Mamedyarov - Radjabov
The first game of the round to finish, a quick draw in the Fianchetto Grunfeld, which was not much of a surprise as the two Olympic teammates have drawn almost all of their games at the top level.
After the game, Radjabov expressed a lack of energy to come up with new ideas in the opening, citing his busy schedule and preference to minimize risk. | Photo: Grand Chess Tour, Lennart Ootes
Vachier-Lagrave - Lupulescu
A critical variation of the French Defense put Lupulescu’s preparation to the test, but the Romanian No. 1 managed to defend accurately, reaching an equal endgame soon out of the opening. MVL tried to press, even sacrificing a pawn for some play, but was ultimately not able to pose real problems, and the game was drawn in an equal knight vs. bishop ending.
The players shake hands after repeating moves for a draw | Photo: Grand Chess Tour, Lennart Ootes
Giri - Aronian
After misplaying the Black side of a Catalan, Aronian was under some serious pressure in a thematic endgame, with Giri’s pieces dominating Black’s queenside. But Giri was not able to maximize his advantage, allowing Aronian to equalize with passive but solid defense, eventually holding the draw.
Here the engine pointed out 19.Be3!, avoiding the exchange of dark-squared bishops with ...Bf6, and keeping enormous pressure on Black’s position
A tough day for World No. 5 Levon Aronian, who was relieved to survive in the endgame | Photo: Grand Chess Tour, Lennart Ootes
So - Caruana
One of the best games of the tournament thus far, as Wesley So found a creative pawn sacrifice to greatly restrict several of Black’s pieces. While Caruana’s position was tenable, it was difficult to defend from a practical point of view, and the U.S. No. 1 quickly fell into a strategically lost position. Good technique by Wesley took matters into the endgame, with an extra pawn and overwhelming positional advantage, allowing So to win his first game of the event.
Despite being a pawn down, White’s position was much more preferable, due to Black’s heavily restricted pieces on the kingside
Grischuk - Deac
Also scoring his first win of the event was Grischuk, who nursed a small edge out of the opening against the talented Romanian junior. With both players in severe time trouble, Grischuk managed to win a pawn in a heavy-piece endgame, and was able to convert in excellent technical style.
After 59.Qf8! (threatening Rxf7), which was followed by 59...Rf4 60.Rxf4 gxf4 61.Qa8! securing a decisive advantage in the queen and pawn endgame
Pairings for Round 5
Our coverage of the 2021 Superbet Chess Classic continues tomorrow, June 9, at 7:00 AM CDT with live coverage from GMs Alejandro Ramirez, Yasser Seirawan, and Maurice Ashley on grandchesstour.org.