Vachier-Lagrave Crushes Wei Yi In Speed Chess Championship
Wei Yi was leading initially but Vachier-Lagrave pulled away at the end.

Vachier-Lagrave Crushes Wei Yi In Speed Chess Championship

Rakesh
IM Rakesh
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10 | Chess Event Coverage

In the second match of the 2019 Speed Chess Championship French star Maxime Vachier-Lagrave beat the Chinese GM Wei Yi in an enthralling clash.

Wei was off to a flyer and even took a big lead before Vachier-Lagrave got things under control in the 3|1 blitz section. The Frenchman blew his opponent away in the bullet portion to win the match convincingly with the score of 21-10.

Vachier-Lagrave, who was still the world number one in blitz last month, advances to the second round, where he will face the winner of other round of 16 match between Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Wesley So.

Vachier-Lagrave won by a much bigger margin than SmarterChess' predictions.
Vachier-Lagrave won by a much bigger margin than SmarterChess' predictions.

Vachier-Lagrave was seeded second in this year's event while Wei gained his place after winning the 2019 Junior Speed Chess Championship. After opening the match with a draw, the Chinese left everyone baffled when he resigned in a difficult but not so decisive position.

Chess.com's CCO IM Daniel Rensch was planning to stream solo but Indian star and former SCC contestant, GM Vidit Gujrathi joined the commentary to provide fun analysis and give his thoughts. He stayed till the end of the match.

Indian star GM Vidit Gujrathi joined the show and provided some amazing analysis throughout the show.
Indian star GM Vidit Gujrathi joined the show and provided some amazing analysis throughout the show.

Wei took the defeat in his stride and went on a nice run of victories, something he could never repeat in the match. He won five games in a row and was leading with a score of 5.5-1.5. One of those five games included a wonderful attacking game against the Frenchman's pet Najdorf.

Just when it felt like the Wei was running away with it, Vachier-Lagrave not only managed to stop the bleeding but himself won three games on the trot. This hat-trick of wins was instrumental in deciding the match as the French number took the momentum into the 3|1 section.

5|1 section | Scores

# Fed Name Handle Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Score
1 Wei Yi @LOVEVAE 2935 2981 ½ 0 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 5.5/10
2 Vachier-Lagrave @LyonBeast 2947 2901 ½ 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 4.5/10

Vachier-Lagrave continued his form from the 5|1 to the 3|1 portion. He won his fourth straight game and then followed up with a nerve-wracking win in his favorite razor-sharp Najdorf.

Vachier-Lagrave scored an amazing seven wins on the bounce. He grabbed the lead and never let go. The 3|1 section proved to be decisive as "MVL" dominated the proceedings and stamped his authority all over the young Chinese player.

Wei didn't manage to score a single victory in the 3|1 section and just managed four draws in 10 games. The Chinese player could never really recover and had also previously highly praised his opponent's superior blitz and bullet skills, which Vachier-Lagrave showed.

3|1 section | Scores

# Fed Name Handle Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Score
1 Vachier-Lagrave @LyonBeast 2948 3172 1 1 1 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ 8.0/10
2 Wei Yi @LOVEVAE 2932 2708 0 0 0 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ 2.0/10

The match was now heavily in favor of the Frenchman. The bullet section couldn't have started any worse for Wei as he trapped his queen in lost in under 20 moves.

Then, Wei finally won a game after 15 games of draught. Just when there was the slightest glimmer of hope of a comeback, Vachier-Lagrave just showed why he is one of the top blitz players on the planet. He blanked Wei again and won five more games that involved some heavy trolling by both the players but all in good humor and in a light-hearted way.

1|1 section | Scores

# Fed Name Handle Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Score
1 Vachier-Lagrave @LyonBeast 3035 3154 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 0 ½ 1 1 8.5/11
2 Wei Yi @LOVEVAE 2942 2823 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 ½ 0 0 2.5/11

Wei earned a hefty prize on winning the Junior Speed Chess Championship but only got $323 for his efforts this time. Vachier-Lagrave picked up $1,000 for overall match victory and an additional $677 as the other $1,000 is divided amongst the players based on win percentage.

During the post match interviews, when asked about how he held it together after being down early on in the match, Vachier-Lagrave replied:

"It was very frustrating at the start. I lost two games in a row which I think at least one of them I should have won. After game seven, which I finally won and after that I suddenly won seven or eight in a row and if you have such a streak going then suddenly it all feels very good."

Wei said that his amazing start almost felt like a dream and he started to think he could win this match and then he lost seven games in a row.

Fellow commentator Vidit asked the question on everybody's minds: why did Vachier-Lagrave start trolling Wei with moves like 1.g4?

MVL replied: "That was for my friend  Blitzsteam. There is this French streamer Blitzstream who always goes 1.g4 and also against Magnus, so I just paid my respect."

The live broadcast for replay.

All games of the match for replay.

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