Vachier-Lagrave Wins Star-Studded December Titled Tuesday
MVL conceded only two draws in the final rounds to win December's Titled Tuesday.

Vachier-Lagrave Wins Star-Studded December Titled Tuesday

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December's Titled Tuesday was a thoroughly star-studded holiday blast. With 353 players, it was our third-largest Titled Tuesday ever. The field was so packed with talent and skill that it could easily be mistaken for a prestige open or swiss.

Here are just a few of the stars who played:

  • Super-GMs: Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Hikaru Nakamura, Wesley So, Vladimir Fedoseev
  • Most recent world junior champions: Jeffery Xiong, Aryan Tari, Parham Maghsoodloo
  • Prodigies: Alireza Firouzja, Awonder Liang, Nihal Sarin
  • Streamers: Gata Kamsky, Krikor Mekhitarian, Jon Ludvig Hammer, Eric Hansen, John Bartholomew

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave began with seven(!) wins. The dramatic and critical game was his eighth round against Nakamura. He had a one-point lead, but had the disadvantage of playing the black pieces.

With everything hinging on this game, Vachier-Lagrave won with a dazzling mating finish.

After this, Vachier-Lagrave was able to "coast" to victory with two draws.

Amusingly, Vachier-Lagrave wasn't the only French superstar to sacrificially defeat an American super-grandmaster in Titled Tuesday. Etienne Bacrot also defeated Wesley So in a nice game.

Etienne Bacrot, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Titled Tuesday

France's #1 and #2 bested the U.S.'s #2 and #3 in Titled Tuesday | Photo: Maria Emelianova,

Bacrot also found another beautiful checkmate later when his opponent tried a bit too hard to escape perpetual check and win.

In contrast, GM Vladimir Fedoseev was rewarded with a beautiful victory when he declined a perpetual, risking overpressing and losing. His dazzling Re6!! move may not have been best, but it was thrilling!

Vladimir Fedoseev, Titled Tuesday

Was Re6!! an enormously human (Tal-like) or inhuman (AlphaZero-like) move? 🤔 | Photo: Maria Emelianova,

While two members of the French national team impressed, so did two members of the Iranian national team. Iran is not typically a chess powerhouse, but recently its juniors have become stars. The 15-year-old GM Alireza Firouzja finished tied for fourth, winning numerous battles. Here is one imbalanced game that he turned around in fun fashion.

Firouzja's countryman, GM Parham Maghsoodloo, may be less known to blitz fans, but he recently won the world junior championship, establishing himself as a star to which we should pay close attention. He won the following game with an interesting tactical sequence when his opponent missed a beautiful resource.

Parham Maghsoodloo, Alireza Firouzja, Titled Tuesday

The next generation of Iranian chess; GMs Maghsoodloo and Firouzja appear almost certain to be super-GMs. | Photo: Maria Emelianova,

Another Maghsoodloo opponent, IM Kanan Garayev, did find an available tactic though, striking with a gorgeous "puzzle rush" checkmate!

Our thanks and compliments to all the players on another month of exciting competitive chess. We'll be back with a New Year's Titled Tuesday on January 1. See you then!

Final Standings | December Titled Tuesday (7+ points)

Place Seed Fed Title Username Name Score Prize
1 10 GM LyonBeast Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 9 $500
2 80 IM GadimbayliA Abdulla Gadimbayli 8.5 $325
3 74 FM Tjktiger Excommunicado 8.5 $325
4 3 GM Firouzja2003 Alireza Firouzja 8 $42
5 15 IM Mykola-Bortnyk Mykola Bortnyk 8 $42
6 40 IM Korchmar_Vasiliy Vasiliy Korchmar 8 $42
7 4 GM GMWSO Wesley So 8 $42
8 53 GM amintabatabaei Seyed Mohammad Amin Tabatabaei 8 $42
9 8 GM Hrant_ChessMood Hrant Melkumyan 8 $42
10 13 FM GhostOfGreenval Anand Nadar 7.5
11 50 GM Gabrielian_Artur Артур Габриелян 7.5
12 37 IM KenanGarayev Kanan Garayev 7.5
13 2 GM Bigfish1995 Vladimir Fedoseev 7.5
14 212 FM evgenyermolaev Евгений Ермолаев 7.5
14 31 GM jefferyx Jeffery Xiong 7.5
16 66 IM Thjop 7.5
17 4 GM vuqarrasulov Vuqar Rasulov 7.5
18 65 GM gmjlh Jon Ludvig Hammer 7 Best Streamer
19 17 GM Guenplen 7
20 30 GM ficorrales Fidel Corrales 7
20 38 GM severomorskij Aleksandr Moiseenko 7
22 14 GM VerdeNotte Gawain Jones 7
23 23 GM gkchesstiger Gata Kamsky 7
24 308 GM baki83 Etienne Bacrot 7
25 1 GM Hikaru Hikaru Nakamura 7
26 58 GM Durarbayli Vasif Durarbayli 7
27 47 GM BocharovD Dmitriy Bocharov 7
27 55 GM SantoBlue Vahap Sanal 7
29 254 FM WinnerOleg Oleg Papayan 7
30 71 GM GMKrikor Krikor Sevag Mekhitarian 7
31 227 IM hypert T M 7
32 68 FM Wolf2005 Aydin Suleymanli 7
32 32 GM penguingm1 Andrew Tang 7
34 36 GM StephenDedalus83 7
35 218 FM pedromartinez91 pedro martinez 7
36 54 IM josmito10 7

Complete cross tables and games are available here.

GM Aman Hambleton (@KNVB) commentated the event, sharing the viewers' enthusiasm and shock at the many upsets and shocks.

Vachier-Lagrave won $500 for his first-place finish this Tuesday. Collecting $325 for second place were IM Abdulla Gadimbayli and FM Daler Vakhidov. Fourth and fifth place prizes were split between GMs So, Firouzja, Hrant Melkumyan, Seyed Mohammad Amin Tabatabaei, and IMs Mykola Bortnyk, and Vasiliy Korchmar. Each received $42.

GM Jon Ludwig Hammer ( won this month's streamers' prize: 20 gifted subs for his channel's viewers. Subscribers can watch his stream here:

NM Sam Copeland

I'm the VP of Chess and Community for I earned the National Master title in 2012, and in 2014, I returned to my home state of South Carolina to start Strategery: Chess and Games. In late 2014, I began working for and haven't looked back since.

You can find my personal content on Twitch , Twitter , and YouTube where I further indulge my love of chess.

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