Paris Rapid & Blitz Grand Chess Tour: Vachier-Lagrave Takes Over
Vachier-Lagrave is the new leader in his home city. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

Paris Rapid & Blitz Grand Chess Tour: Vachier-Lagrave Takes Over

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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35 | Chess Event Coverage

Thanks to an excellent second day on which he scored 2.5/3, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave is the new leader in the rapid segment of the Paris Grand Chess Tour.

MVL's good second day started with a black win versus Anish Giri in an opening line that's always been fascinating ever since Bobby Fischer played it in the 1960s and '70s: the Poisoned Pawn variation of the Najdorf. 

"Never take on b2, even when it's good," is a well-known saying in chess, but this one is the most famous exception.

The insertion of ...h7-h6, Bg5-h4 is the modern approach, and eventually the players put on the board 24 moves that had never been played before anywhere! MVL neutralized White's activity by sacrificing an exchange, but the endgame remained complicated. Eventually he won because of a blunder by Giri in a roughly even position. You can hardly blame him; playing against these two knights is like fighting the three-headed dog Cerberus.

Grischuk Giri Paris Grand Chess Tour 2019
Alexander Grischuk is also very interested in how Giri is battling MVL's Najdorf this time. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

The Frenchman, who lives in Paris, had joined co-leaders Vishy Anand and Fabiano Caruana with this win. In the next round he took over the lead completely as he defeated the latter with an interesting pawn sacrifice in the opening.

Caruana at some point gave up an exchange to release some of the pressure and initially had decent compensation. Later the material started to count.

Vachier-Lagrave vs. Caruana Paris Grand Chess Tour 2019
Vachier-Lagrave vs. Caruana. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

Another nice game was Jan-Krzysztof Duda's win against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. This flank development with an early g2-g4 against Black's Queen's Gambit Declined has been seen more and more recently and always guarantees sharp fights.

Caruana then also lost his last game of the day to Ian Nepomniachtchi and in dramatic fashion. Just like at the Zagreb Grand Chess Tour event, he lost from a winning position—this time twice in one game:

Paris Grand Chess Tour 2019
Round six about to start. | Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.
2019 Paris Grand Chess Tour Day 2 Standings
2019 Paris Grand Chess Tour Day Two Standings

The Paris Rapid & Blitz Grand Chess Tour takes place July 27-August 1 in Paris, France. After three days of rapid (nine rounds), two days of blitz will follow with nine rounds on each day.

The first four days start at 3 p.m. local time (GMT+2), 6 a.m. Pacific. The last day starts an hour earlier.

Chess.com is providing daily coverage on Twitch.tv/Chess and Chess.com/TV. (See also our press release.)

Paris Rapid & Blitz 2019 Chess.com coverage

All games of rounds four through six for replay/download:


You can find all games here as part of our live portal. More photos from the event can be found here. The official site is here.


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