He easily captured first place in the annual elite Sparkassen Chess Meeting tournament.
The Sparkassen Chess Meeting in Dortmund, Germany, finished Sunday, and it was convincingly won by Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France. Vachier-Lagrave tore through the elite field, winning four games and drawing three, and that despite playing Black four times.
Three players — Leinier Dominguez Perez of Cuba, Vladimir Kramnik of Russia, and Fabiano Caruana of the United States — tied for second, each with 4 points, 1.5 points behind Vachier-Lagrave.
Vachier-Lagrave clinched first in Round 6 with a nice win against Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine, showcasing the uselessness of a bishop trapped behind its own pawns.
( 22. Na4?Would be too early because of 22... Bd8And the rook is trapped )
22... Bf623. Na4!Ke724. c4!The computer calls this position equal, but in reality Black is probably jst busted. The bishop on b7 is buried forever and White has free rein to play on the kingside 24... Kd825. Re3a526. Be2Ba627. Kf1Rb828. b3g529. Ke1Bd430. Rf3Ke731. Bd1h632. Kd2Rb433. Kd3Ba734. Rf5f635. Nc3Bc536. f4Rb837. fxg5fxg5Lines are opening on the other side and Black is really starting to miss the light-squared bishop. 38. Kc2Bg139. Bh5Bxh240. Rf7+Kd841. Bg4Rb742. c5!?It takes a lot to be willing to free the bishop, but Black is facing
real difficulties. He must lose a piece. 42... Bxg3
With the tournament already decided, it was unsurprising that the players’ fighting spirit was not at its highest in the last round. Still, there were a couple of interesting games. Vachier-Lagrave found himself in a worse position for the first time in the entire event (against Dominguez) but he managed to remain unscathed:
Dominguez Perez, Leinier vs. Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime
N2c3White is up an exchange for a pawn but his rooks are pretty
passive. Still, I believe he should be better if he finds the right idea: 23. Rhc1?This fails to carry out White's best plan
( 23. Ne5!The knight is rerouting to d3 and b4 after which Black will have to fight for a draw. )
23... Nxe2!24. Kxe2f6!And now White can no longer play Ne5. Indeed, Black will achieve e5 and have a reasonable amount of counterplay 25. Kd2Bf526. Ra2Be427. Rca1e5Black is fine. The game soon petered out to a draw as White had to give back the exchange. 28. Bg3Ra829. Ra3Kf730. Ne1exd431. exd4Bh6+32. Ke2Re833. Kf1Bd234. Nd3Bxd3+35. Rxd3Bc336. Rc1b437. f3Nb238. Rdxc3bxc339. Rxc3The rest was unnecessary. 39... Nc440. Kg1Re241. Rb3Ne342. Bf2Nd143. Bg3Ne344. Bf2Nd145. Bg3Ne3
The only decisive game of the final round came from Kramnik, who beat Evgeny Najer of Russia. Kramnik had drawn all his games before the last round, despite having a lot of good positions. He notched his first victory, but not by playing 1. e4, as he had earlier in the event. I hope this does not mean that he is done with experimenting with the king’s pawn opeing because I really enjoyed the inspired chess he played. His game in the last round ended quickly after Najer blundered in a more-or-less equal position:
35. Kh2This looks like an innocent move, but White has a threat that comes with it. Najer either missed the threat or didn't respect it enough: 35... Kh7?
( 35... Bf8!This was the only move, lending added support to Black's pieces on the queenside and indirectly attacking the White queen on c5. Black would have been fine. 36. h4Nxd5And since
the rook on d6 is protected, Back has this resource available. He is only
slightly worse 37. exd5Qe738. Ra8 )
36. h4!Black is unable to stop Bh3, destroying his coordination and winning a lot of material 36... Kg837. Bh3Rxd538. exd5Qxd539. Qc6Qd2+40. Bg2
Vachier-Lagrave’s victory moves him to No. 2 on the Live Rating list — a career best and the highest rank ever by a Frenchman!
Samuel Shankland is a United States grandmaster ranked No. 7 in the country. He is a professional player and recipient of the Samford Fellowship in 2013, the most prestigious award in the United States for young chess players. He is at @GMShanky on Twitter and is also on Facebook.
FIDE and World Chess announces today that the 2018 World Chess Championship Match will take place in London in November 2018. The world’s most prestigious chess tournament is to be the climax of a season of high-profile activity to extend the sport’s appeal among global audiences – and make 2018 the Year of Chess in the UK.
After 9 days of intense chess battles at the last leg of the World Chess Grand Prix series 2017 in Palma de Mallorca, the two winners of the series were finally determined: Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan, overall 340 points in the series) and Alexander Grischuk (Russia, 336,4 points). They qualified for the Candidates Tournament – the next part of the World Chess Championship cycle, which leads up to the Championship match.
The sole leader of the Palma de Mallorca Grand Prix Levon Aronian made a quick draw with Evgeny Tomashevsky today, inviting the group of rivals to join him at the top. But same as in the previous rounds all games on the top boards finished peacefully and not a single player came close to catching up with him.
After seven rounds Aronian is in the lead with 4,5 points. A group of 8 players is half a point behind, including Vachier-Lagrave. In order to qualify for the Candidates, the Frenchman needs to win at least one more game. Boris Gelfand defeated Alexander Riazantsev, Pavel Eljanov won against Jon Ludvig Hammer, while Teimour Rajabov outplayed Li Chao. After the victory the Azerbaijani Grandmaster still hopes to qualify, but in that case has to win both games.
Javier Ochoa, Honorary FIDE Vice President and President of the Spanish Chess Federation, made the first symbolic move to start the fourth round, which turned out to be the most exciting round of the tournament so far, with six decisive games out of nine.
In the Third Round of the FIDE Grand Prix in Palma de Mallorca games between the four leaders, Vachier-Lagrave-Aronian and Rajabov-Giri, finished in a draw. Peter Svidler joined the group of leaders by beating Jon-Ludvig Hammer in the third round.
The world’s best chess players and chess establishment came together in Bellver Castle to celebrate the opening of the final leg of the FIDE 2017 World Chess Grand Prix Palma de Mallorca – a prestigious qualifier for the World Chess Candidates Tournament.
Katerina Lagno, one of the strongest Russian women-grandmasters won the historic Moscow Blitz Tournament, beating her fellow Russian Olympic team members Alexandra Kosteniuk, Valentina Gunina and Olga Girya.
After a draw against Ian Nepomniachtchi, Teimur Rajabov won the tournament. One of the strongest players, Rajabov had not won a major tournament lately, but has shown phenomenal form in Geneva and managed to overpower some of top world’s players