Shirov and Vachier-Lagrave lead in Hoogeveen

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Shirov and Vachier-Lagrave lead in HoogeveenAt half-time Alexei Shirov and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave share the lead in the Crown Group of the Univé Chess Tournament in Hoogeveen, The Netherlands. Both scored 2 points and are followed by Anish Giri, who drew all his games. Last year's winner Sergei Tiviakov is on last place with 0.5/3.

Anish Giri at the opening ceremony | Photo © Fred Lucas

General info

The 14th Univé Chess Tournament takes place October 22-30 in Hoogeveen, The Netherlands. The Crown Group has Alexei Shirov, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Anish Giri and Sergei Tiviakov playing a double round-robin of six rounds with no rest day. As always the venue is the town hall of Hoogeveen, where several amateur tournaments and a strong open are held alongside.

Rounds 1-3

We'll cover the open tournament in a separate report, so for now let's focus on the Crown Group. This year it took a while before the real fireworks started but when it was there, it was there! The first round saw two uneventful draws, and especially Tiviakov-Giri was a remarkably short affair. As it turned out Giri had improved upon Carlsen-Wang Yue in a Petroff - for the details we refer to ChessVibes Openings #95.

Vachier-Lagrave and Shirov spent 27 moves on it, but the Frenchman's 12.Ne5 wasn't an improvement on Kramnik's 12.Bb3 in Bilbao. Black was fine, and then Vachier-Lagrave decided to simplify with 17. Bb5 to avoid getting into trouble.

The second round saw the best game so far: Shirov-Tiviakov, a 3...Qd6 Scandinavian in which White pushed all his pawns up the board except for the ones on a2 and h2. Up till the brilliant move 14.d5!! it was preparation, and then Shirov finished the game strongly as well. He was quite happy with this victory, and showed it on a demo board to the spectators later on.

In the third round Anish Giri played his 9th draw in Hoogeveen (he split the point six times last year), but this time it could have been a win against... Mr Shirov. Winning would have been 24. Qd8+ Ne8 25. Qe7 h6 26. Nb6. A few inaccurate moves later the Dutch prodigy even got into trouble, but eventually held a RN-R comfortably to a draw. Vachier-Lagrave convincingly beat Tiviakov with black, and showed once more what a devilish calculating machine he is.

At the moment of writing, in one and a half hours round 4 will start. The two games, and the top six boards of the open, can be followed live here. The tournament site also has quite a few photos up already.

Games rounds 1-3

Game viewer by ChessTempo

Univé Chess Tournament (Crown Group) 2010 | Round 3 standings Univé Chess Tournament (Crown Group) 2010 | Round 3 standings


Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!

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