Maxime Vachier-Lagrave proved just too good for the competition. So good, even a defeat in the last round wouldn’t have mattered.
The top seed from France won the rapid section of the Tata Steel Chess India tournament with a round to spare at the National Library on Thursday. It was quite a remarkable performance from the former World blitz champion.
Vachier-Lagrave, better known in chess circles as MVL, finished with seven points from nine rounds – that is 1.5 points more than the second-placed Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan, who also justified his billing as the second seed.
Vachier-Lagrave didn’t lose a single game, and won five. Two of those wins came on this day, back to back, against Indian rivals Arjun Erigaisi and P. Harikrishna.
He settled for a quick draw in his last game with Radjabov. “Yes, it is nice to win a strong tournament like this convincingly, by 1.5 points,” he told The Hindu shortly after. “I was pleased with most of my games, too. Probably the best was the one against Arjun.”
Arjun, who has to his credit two champions and as many runner-up trophies from the last two editions, disappointed. He finished ninth, in a field of 10. R. Praggnanandhaa was the best Indian performer, coming third.
The results (ninth round, Indians unless specified):
- Vaishali draws last round to win FIDE Women Grand Prix 2023
- Vidit wins FIDE Grand Swiss, qualifies for Candidates 2024
- F1 Brazilian Grand Prix 2023 Highlights: Verstappen eases to win ahead of Norris; Alonso pips Perez to third in photo finish
- IND vs SA, World Cup 2023: Team India taking it one match at a time, says Jadeja after emphatic South Africa win
- ISL 2023-24: Goa moves to top with comprehensive 3-0 victory over Chennaiyin