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On Chess: Shakhriyar Mamedyarov Wins Superbet Chess Classic

Lennart Ootes
Grand Chess Tour
Mamedyarov is the first player from Azerbaijan to win a GCT event.

With a dominating performance that included three wins in a row, World No. 5 grandmaster Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan won the 2021 Superbet Chess Classic, the first leg in the 2021 Grand Chess Tour circuit. The 36-year-old, who entered the tournament as the No. 6 seed, finished with 6.0/9, a full point ahead of his nearest rivals, and took home a first place prize of $90,000.

Finishing in shared second place were Levon Aronian (Armenia), Wesley So (USA) and Alexander Grischuk (Russia), who each scored 5.0/9 points and earned $45,000 for their efforts.

The tournament, held in Bucharest, Romania, featured a 10-player round robin (all play all) format, with one game per day at a classical time control of 90 minutes allotted for 40 moves, followed by an additional 30 minutes for each player. You can find full replays of each round of live coverage from the event here, as well as the official tournament photo album here.

Mamedyarov’s excellent score stemmed from his three-game winning streak in the middle of the competition, when he defeated top Romanian Constantin Lupulescu, World No. 6 Levon Aronian and World No. 2 Fabiano Caruana in back-to-back-to-back games. While his play was solid throughout the event, Mamedyarov’s three wins were explosive, filled with stylish tactical shots.

With his victory, “Shakh” also earned 13 GCT points, making him the early front-runner for the $100,000 prize awarded to the overall season winner.

St. Louis Chess Club
2021 GCT Prize Earnings & GCT Points Received After the Superbet Chess Classic

The next leg of the GCT will be the Paris Rapid & Blitz, another 10-player event taking place June 18-22 in Paris featuring 2021 World Championship challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi, as well as 17-year-old Alireza Firouzja, a rising star.

And looking forward to July, the Croatia Grand Chess Tour event will feature former legendary World Champions, Garry Kasparov and Viswanathan Anand. With the chess world finally returning to normal since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, it’s shaping up to be an excellent summer of chess!

IKostya Kavutskiy is a professional chess player, writer and streamer currently residing in Mountain View, California. You can follow Kostya at @hellokostya


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