MVL, Nakamura, Dlugy Deliver In Dec. Titled Tuesday

MVL, Nakamura, Dlugy Deliver In Dec. Titled Tuesday

It was a great day for the favorites on Titled Tuesday as GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave topped the early event, and GMs Hikaru Nakamura and Maxim Dlugy shared victory in the late event. There were 54 GM entries and 217 total entries between both the early and late events.

While Vachier-Lagrave and Nakamura are famous for their blitz skills, some might not be familiar with GM Maxim Dlugy. Dlugy has long been a tremendous blitz player, and he was at one point the top-ranked blitz player in the world by the World Blitz Chess Association. Enthusiasts can catch him on ChessTV every other #ChessMonday with his show Bobbing for Dlugy.

The early event featured a hefty 34 GM entries including previous Titled Tuesday victors Nakamura, Georg Meier, and loads of other top talents like GM Pentala Harikrishna and prodigies like GM Jeffery Xiong.

Despite being the second seed in the event, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (MVL) had never achieved a first-place finish in Titled Tuesday. After an Internet issue caused a forfeit by Nakamura in round three, MVL became the favorite, and he delivered in incredible fashion as he reeled off eight wins in a row!

Probably MVL's craziest game was against IM Maksim Chigaev as Chigaev offered the queen, but got a passel of goodies in return. It was impossible to expect accurate play from either player in this irrational game, but MVL was the second-to-last player to make a mistake as Chigaev walked into 38...Qf5! after which material was dropping.

 
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MVL's first Titled Tuesday victory was a convincing affair.

MVL's game against Jeffery Xiong was quite unbalanced with Xiong having a threatening pawn mass against a pair of knights. However, his pawns never got rolling and MVL's devious horses soon made mincemeat of his opponent's king and queen with a series of forks.

MVL wasn't done abusing the American prodigies as he also achieved an excellent technical victory against GM Sam Sevian in a same-colored bishop's endgame.

 

Sam Sevian, still the youngest GM in the world.

Entering the last round, MVL had clearly clinched first and the real question was if he could win one more game to claim a perfect score. Danny Rensch even officially announced a "Fischer Prize" of $500 for anyone to achieve a perfect score in a Titled Tuesday, akin to the same prize at the U.S. championship.

MVL came staggeringly close to perfection as he snagged a pawn against IM Nikita Meshkov, but in the end, it wasn't quite enough for the full point.

Second place was shared by Meshkov and GM Anton Demchenko. Meshkev was responsible for Nakamura's only over-the-board loss in round seven as he found the following trap.

Nakamura found a similar trap himself against FM Torre42 to bring clarity to the position.

 
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On the day, Nakamura was 15.0/17.

One of the most beautiful moves in the tournament was never played on the board as WIM Nastya Pro smelled out the trap and deviated from 18...Qxa3 against IM Ruifeng Li in the following game.

For clear first, MVL wins $500 while Meshkev and Demchenko each won $187.50. There was a big tie to divvy up the  fourth and fifth place winnings with Nakamura, IM Swayams Mishra, Meier, and Li who each collected $31.25.

Titled Tuesday, Early Event | Final Standings (Top 20)

# Fed Title Username Name Score SB
1 FRA GM LyonBeast Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 8.5 51.25
2 RUS GM Anton_Demchenko Anton Demchenko 7.5 40.5 
2 LAT IM IMDbx Nikita Meshkov 7.5 34.75 
4 USA GM Hikaru Hikaru Nakamura 7 38 
4 IND  IM swayamsm Swayams Mishra  7 37.25 
4 GER GM GeorgMeier Gerog Meier 7 32 
4 USA  IM ruifeng Ruifeng Li  7 29.5 
8 FRA  GM Rikikits Maxime Lagarde  6.5 34.5 
8 RUS  IM Fandorine Maksim Chigaev  6.5 31.75 
8 RUS  FM Keranke Vladimir Seliverstov  6.5 29.25 
8 USA  GM Jefferyx Jeffery Xiong 6.5 27.75 
8 ISR  IM AndroQueen Undisclosed 6.5 26.75 
8 RUS IM Krutoy123 Савелий Голубов  6.5 25.75 
8 COL  FM Torre42 Undisclosed  6.5 25.25 
15 RUS  GM ChadaevNikolay Nikolay Chadaev 6 28.25 
15 IND  GM GMharikrishna Pentala Harakrishna 6 28 
15 FRA  NM Blitzstream Kevin Bordi  6 26 
15 RUS  GM bs86 Boris Savchenko  6 25 
15 RUS  GM DeviatkinAndrey Andrey Deviatkin 6 24.5 
15 UKR  NM BigPirate Irop  6 23 

The late event also had good turnout with 19 GM entries and 83 total entries. Once again, Nakamura was the top seed, and this time around with zero Internet errors, he lived up to his pre-tournament billing.

The big showdown came early in this event as Hikaru and Dlugy faced off in round two. After Nakamura misplayed a promising attack, it turned out that Dlugy was the one putting the pressure on, and he missed a few wins in the game before settling for a draw. After this fateful encounter, both players mowed convincingly through the remainder of the field.

Two of Nakamura's finer wins came with exchange sacrifices. The first, against IM Borya Ider, was a simple and convincing display of the power of knights in closed positions.

Nakamura's second exchange sacrifice for victory was far less positional as his pieces carved through FM Renato Lujan's position like a hot knife through butter.

Dlugy's path to first was also extremely eventful. Most first-place finishes require a bit of luck as well as skill. Some of Dlugy's luck came in the following pawn endgame against IM Yaacov Norwitz as Yaacov tragically misevaluated the simplification.

GM Maxim Dlugy won his first Titled Tuesday event. 

Dlugy also triumphed in another drawn knight-endgame-turned-pawn-endgame against FM Lujan.

There was a three-way tie for third place with FM Renato Lujan, GM Petar Arnadauv, and FM Igor Vakhlamov. The most impressive performance of the three was clearly FM Lujan's as he was the only player to start with 5.0/5, and his only two losses occurred against the victors Nakamura and Dlugy.

Lujan's win against GM Daniel Naroditsky was an interesting turnaround as he escaped a bad position into a balanced rook endgame, which Naroditsky could not hold.

Naroditsky also fell to Dlugy as Naroditsky unleashed a barrage of attractive tactics only to find that he had overreached.

 
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GM Daniel Naroditsky has taken clear first in two Titled Tuesdays, but he struggled against the champions this outing. | Photo USChessChamps.

One of the best endgames of the event was produced by GM Demchenko against NM Gerry Cabelon as Demchenko carefully corralled Cabelon's knight in what appeared at first to be a fortress.

For shared first, Nakamura and Dlugy took home $375 each while Lujan, Arnaudov, and Vakhlamov collected $83.33 each.

Titled Tuesday, Late Event | Final Standings (Top 20)

# Fed Title Username Name Score SB
1 USA GM Hikaru Hikaru Nakamura 8 46.25
1 USA GM Dlugy Maxim Dlugy 8 39
3 PER FM renatoterrylujan Renato Lujan 7 34
3 BUL GM PArnaudov Petar Arnaudov 7 30.75
3 RUS FM Rekcul Igor Vakhlamov 7 30
6 FRA FM bugsbunny444 Undisclosed 6.5 30.25
6 USA GM Konavets Samuel Sevian 6.5 30.25
6 USA GM DanielNaroditsky Daniel Naroditsky 6.5 27
9 FRA IM BoryBoy Borya Ider 6 32.5
9 POL IM Kacparov Kacper Drozdowski 6 28.25
9 USA FM jlandaw Julian Landow 6 25.5
9 PHI GM gmjoey1 Rogelio Antonio 6 25
9 SER GM MisaPap Misa Pap 6 24.5
9 USA GM Jefferyx Jeffery Xiong 6 24
15 VIE IM wonderfultime Minh Le 5.5 23.5
15 ESP GM jcibarra Jose Jerez 5.5 21.25
15 FRA GM HustleStandard Sebastian Feller 5.5 20.75
15 RUS GM Gabrielian_Artur Артур Габриелян 5.5 19.25
15 USA NM Gabrisky Aaron Grabinsky 5.5 17.75
20 USA NM adypady02 Undisclosed 5 22

 

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