Maxime Vachier-Lagrave is the sole leader of the Sharjah Grand Prix on 2.5/3 after beating Richard Rapport in Round 2 and surviving by the skin of his teeth against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in Round 3. Rapport has provided almost half of the decisive results so far, but things have turned sour after his first round win. Just when he’d escaped to what seemed an easy draw against Hikaru Nakamura he self-destructed and gave his opponent the only win of Round 3.
Replay all the Sharjah Grand Prix games so far and check out the pairings for the next round:
Round 2: Three wins and missed chances
Richard Rapport opened with his trademark 1.b3 against top seed Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and had soon created an original and chaotic position. Chaos is also the French no. 1’s element, though, and Black took over before scoring a highly convincing win.
Pepe Cuenca takes us through the encounter:
Shakhriyar Mamedyarov is arguably the most feared man in chess when he has the white pieces, and he showed why again against Evgeny Tomashevsky. He cranked up the pressure against Black’s hanging pawns until the black position collapsed in time trouble. The final position is one of total domination:
There’s no good way to meet the simple threat of Rd7 next move. Evgeny blamed himself for his slow play, but also felt he’d been unlucky with an incident more commonly seen in football stadiums: