Vachier-Lagrave Surmounts Tenacious So –

GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave overcame GM Wesley So within the 2022 Velocity Chess Championship on Wednesday. Early within the match, Vachier-Lagrave gained as excessive as a four-point lead, however So fought again to even the rating within the bullet section. With simply 12 minutes left on the match clock, the French grandmaster entered a brand new gear, successful 4 video games in a row to seal victory. 

GMs Hikaru Nakamura and Nihal Sarin will face off within the first semifinal match on December 15 at 6 a.m. PT / 15:00 CET.

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Reside broadcast of the match, hosted by GMs Daniel Naroditsky and Robert Hess.

Blitz 5|1: Vachier-Lagrave-So 6-3

So scored the primary level with an impeccable win towards Vachier-Lagrave’s trademark Najdorf.

Vachier-Lagrave struck again with two wins in a row, creating tactical play within the endgame with intelligent minor piece maneuvers in sport three.

Sport eight was absolute insanity the place each side promoted to 2 queens every within the time scramble, however Vachier-Lagrave had a ladder mate ready for the tip―extending his result in 4 factors. This wild conflict is our Sport of the Day, annotated by GM Rafael Leitao.

GM Rafael Leitao GotD

So closed out the five-minute blitz with an explosive attacking victory. 

Blitz 3|1: Vachier-Lagrave-So 4-5

After a attract sport one, So received once more in a fancy queen and knight vs. two rooks and bishop ending. 

In sport 4, Vachier-Lagrave infiltrated So’s weakened darkish squares to win a Maroczy Bind miniature. 

One essential ingredient to Vachier-Lagrave’s success was a extra diversified opening repertoire. Commentator Hess famous that the world blitz champion was “as numerous as he is ever seen,” and Vachier-Lagrave confirmed this after the match: “It was the plan to experiment with openings, particularly with Black.”

Nearing the tip of the 3-1, So managed to chop Vachier-Lagrave’s lead in half to 2 factors with insightful play in a greater bishop vs. knight ending. 

It got here all the way down to the bullet portion between these two top-notch grandmasters. Would So’s comeback proceed? Or would Vachier-Lagrave carry his result in victory?

Bullet 1|1: Vachier-Lagrave-So 6.5-4.5

Out of the gates in sport two, So introduced this thrilling match to a one-point distinction with exact play in an advantageous rook ending.

So practically tied the match the next sport, however Vachier-Lagrave’s superb defensive talents held regardless of being below appreciable stress for a lot of strikes.

Nonetheless, within the very subsequent sport, So conjured an assault that chased his opponent’s king out of the kingside, by way of the middle, to the queenside, after whichall the way in which again to the kingside for the ultimate checkmate.

The newly tied rating appeared to enliven Vachier-Lagrave, who instantly reclaimed his lead with tactical play in a sophisticated queenless middlegame. 

This kickstarted a four-game successful streak, convincingly sealing the match victory.

Within the post-match interview, Vachier-Lagrave shared his strategy on fashionable opening preparation: “More often than not within the opening, you are probably not in search of a bonus. So, my pondering is: ‘Which line ought to I play towards which opponent?’ … Selections differ relying in your opponent at this stage as a result of we nonetheless have particular strengths … large strengths that we’re making an attempt to make use of.”

The reigning world blitz champion will face GM Magnus Carlsen within the semifinals. Vachier-Lagrave candidly shared his ideas on his probabilities towards the world champion: “Irrespective of which sort of Magnus comes up on Friday, I might be prepared for a giant combat.”

Irrespective of which Magnus comes up on Friday, I might be prepared for a giant combat.

-Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

Vachier-Lagrave received $4,706.90 whereas So earned $1,293.10 for his efforts. 

Ultimate Rating

Participant Flag 5+1 3+1 1+1 Complete
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 6 4 6.5 16.5
Wesley So 3 5 4.5 12.5

All Video games – Quarterfinal

Velocity Chess Championship 2022 Bracket

The 2022 Velocity Chess Championships Major Occasion began on November 23 and can conclude on December 16. Prime speed-chess gamers are competing at three completely different time controls in a 16-player knockout as they vie for a share of the $100,000 prize fund together with probably the most prestigious title in on-line chess.

The likes of GMs Magnus Carlsen, Hikaru Nakamura, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Ding Liren, Nodirbek Abdusattorov, and lots of extra battle it out to find out the 2022 velocity chess champion.

Earlier experiences: