Hamburg Grand Prix: Grischuk Eliminates Vachier-Lagrave
Grischuk vs. Vachier-Lagrave. Photo: Valeria Gordienko/World Chess.

Hamburg Grand Prix: Grischuk Eliminates Vachier-Lagrave

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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12 | Chess Event Coverage

Alexander Grischuk is the first finalist of the the FIDE Grand Prix in Hamburg after beating Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the second game of the semifinals. Daniil Dubov and Jan-Krzysztof Duda drew again, and will play a tiebreak on Wednesday.

It was an important victory for Grischuk, who is playing his last event in the FIDE Grand Prix series. He is now strongly leading the overall standings with 17 points, and he can reach a maximum of 21 points if he wins the Hamburg final without a tiebreak.

If he does that, Grischuk will almost certainly qualify for the 2020 Candidates' Tournament as either the Grand Prix winner or the runner-up. Meanwhile, Vachier-Lagrave, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Ian Nepomniachtchi will be fighting for the other spot in the last leg, next month in Jerusalem.

2019 FIDE Grand Prix Series | Current Standings

# Fed Player Moscow Riga Hamburg Jerusalem GP points TB1 TB2 TB3
1 Grischuk 7 3 ⩾7 x 17 0 2 11½
2 Vachier-Lagrave 8 5 13 0 1 9
3 Mamedyarov 0 10 10 1 0
4 Nepomniachtchi 9 0 9 1 0 5
5 Duda 0 1 ⩾5 x 6 0 0 7
6 Dubov 2 0 ⩾3 x 5 0 0 6
7 Wojtaszek 5 0 5 0 0 5
8 Svidler 2 0 2 x 4 0 0
9 So 1 3 4 0 0
10 Nakamura 3 0 0 x 3 0 0 4
11 Topalov 1 2 3 0 0
12 Yu Yangyi 1 1 2 0 0
13 Wei Yi 2 0 2 0 0 3
14 Karjakin 0 1 1 0 0
15 Navara 0 1 1 0 0 2
16 Vitiugov 0 0 0 x 0 0 0
17 Radjabov 0 0 0 0 0 2
18-21 Giri 0 0 0 0 0
18-21 Jakovenko 0 0 0 0 0
18-21 Aronian 0 0 0 0 0
18-21 Harikrishna 0 0 0 0 0

Grischuk won a fine game against Vachier-Lagrave on Wednesday. The middlegame looked like a Gruenfeld, without Black's fianchetto bishop and with the typical black knight on a5 that should have been a temporary measure.

However, MVL's knight ended up staying on the rim for 15 moves, and despite the trade of some pieces, Grischuk maintained an active position. Eventually an endgame was reached with QB-vs-QN and a passed pawn for White on the queenside, which Grischuk brilliantly converted using the technique of zugzwang. "

I guess Maxime thought this would be a fortress," Grischuk said.

"I started to make some dubious decisions, after which I couldn't get myself together," Vachier-Lagrave said. He felt he should have been able to hold, but somehow didn't manage.

With his win, the Russian player also took revenge for his loss to MVL in the Riga Grand Prix.

Grischuk 2019 FIDE Grand Prix Hamburg
Grischuk made a big step towards becoming one of the 2020 candidates. Photo: Valeria Gordienko/World Chess.

Duda held a tough game with Dubov to a draw. 

"I was definitely in trouble at some moment," admitted Duda after the game.

At first Black seemed to get an easy game out of the opening, but with 13.Bf4 Dubov made sure his opponent needed to be accurate. Dubov even thought he was winning at some point, but Duda disagreed:

"I don't think White was winning to be honest but obviously it was very unpleasant to play," said Duda.

2019 FIDE Grand Prix Hamburg
The start of the games on Tuesday. Photo: Valeria Gordienko/World Chess.

This means we'll see a tiebreak between the two "Du" players on Wednesday for a spot in the final: two 25+10 games, and if needed two 10+10 games, two 5+3 games followed by an armageddon.

The Hamburg Grand Prix games start each day at 15:00 CET, which is 9 a.m. Eastern and 6 a.m. Pacific. You can follow them here as part of our live portal.


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