Riga Grand Prix: Vachier-Lagrave Only Winner Round 2, Day 1
Former Latvian Minister of Finance and WGM Dana Reizniece-Ozola opens round 2. | Photo: World Chess

Riga Grand Prix: Vachier-Lagrave Only Winner Round 2, Day 1

| 8 | Chess Event Coverage

Round two of the FIDE Grand Prix cycle started on Monday in Riga, Latvia and had only one winner: Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. This is the second Grand Prix tournament, following the Moscow Grand Prix. Only eight players remain in this knockout event after round one needed six matches to be decided in tiebreaks.

Topalov vs Vachier-Lagrave was the game of the round. | Photo: Niki Riga/World Chess

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave hadn't won a classical game in 21 games before Riga, but today he won his second in three games as he beat former FIDE world champion Veselin Topalov in the Sicilian Najdorf. Find out how Vachier-Lagrave is focussing on qualifying for the Candidates tournament.

Vachier-Lagrave just needs a draw to enter the semis tomorrow. | Photo: Niki Riga/World Chess

Although all the remaining games were drawn, a couple of them were hard-fought draws. For example, the match-up between Russian star Alexander Grischuk vs Chinese number two Yu Yangyi was quite a contest.

Grischuk sacrificed a pawn to launch a kingside attack. Black managed to thwart the attack by trading queens and giving up his extra pawn. The game soon fizzled out to a draw with both sides having negligible chances of winning.

Grischuk vs Yu Yangyi was a fighting draw. | Photo: Niki Riga/World Chess

The game between Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov was an interesting struggle but neither chances had a significant edge. The closed pawn structure didn't offer much chances to either side and they traded pieces frequently before agreeing to a draw on move 34.

Duda wasn't too impressed with the draw today. | Photo: Niki Riga/World Chess

The first game to finish was the quick draw between Sergey Karjakin and Wesley So. Their game ended in a repetition as early as move 17. Both the players looked happy with a draw as Karjakin wanted some rest after his epic armageddon win against Giri yesterday while So was simply to draw with Black.
Both the players were happy with a draw. | Photo: Niki Riga/World Chess

The 2019 FIDE Grand Prix series consists of four knockout tournaments, each with 16 players who play two classical games per round and, if needed, a tiebreak on the third day. Ian Nepomniachtchi won the first Grand Prix tournament in Moscow. The remaining two are Hamburg, Germany (November 4–18) and Tel Aviv, Israel (December 10–24).

Each of the four tournaments has a prize fund of 130,000 euros ($145,510). Prizes for the overall standings in the series total 280,000 euros ($313,405), making the total prize fund of the series 800,000 euros ($895,444).

The games start each day at noon UTC. You can follow the games here as part of our live portal. The official site is here.

Watch FIDE World Chess Grand Prix Riga 2019. Round 2. Game 1 from FIDE_Chess on

The official World Chess broadcast with GMs Evgeny Miroshnichenko and Arturs Neiksans.

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IM Rakesh Kulkarni

Rakesh Kulkarni is the Director of Indian Social Media for and a correspondent on chess in India.

Rakesh has earned the International Master title and is a former Commonwealth Blitz Champion and a Commonwealth Bronze medallist in the junior category. Rakesh has a Masters of Commerce degree in Management & Business administration. He now is a professional chess player and trains young talents across the globe on

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