Riga FIDE GP Finals - Mamedyarov wins in Armageddon

by ChessBase
7/24/2019 – Game one of the FIDE Grand Prix final in Riga finished surprisingly quickly, as Shakhriyar Mamedyarov took down Maxime Vachier-Lagrave from the white side of a Grünfeld Defence in 28 moves. In the second classical game MVL battled back to tie the score forcing a tiebreak, July 24th starting at 12:00 UTC (14:00 CEST, 8:00 AM EDT), with live games and commentary. | Photo: Niki Riga / World Chess

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Finals, Tiebreak - July 24th

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave stared down the threat of elimination and won a eliminations games again and again against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in today's finals. After six rapid and blitz games, the players were still tied, so the match had to be settled in a single sudden-death Armageddon game.

"A lot of tension and fight" was Maxime's verdict in the post-match press conference. Mamedyarov takes the first place prize of 24,000 euro and 10 Grand Prix points (two bonus points for winning matches without tiebreaks)! Vachier-Lagrave will head home with 14,000 euros and 8 GP points (5 as the runner-up plus 3 bonus points).

Neither player will get much rest as they are due to start playing rapid and blitz once again in Paris for the Grand Chess Tour in just three days time!

Match results

Click or tap any result to open the game via Live.ChessBase.com


Games and commentary

Players receive 90-minute for 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game plus 30-seconds per move starting from move one. Official broadcast available on worldchess.com.


Commentary by GM Evgeny Miroshnichenko & GM Arturs Neikans

Format and players

In each Grand Prix tournament, 16 players compete in a knockout tournament. Each round  consists of two games at classical time control. If the match is tied 1:1 after two games, then a tie-break day will consist of two games rapid games, and if necessary, two blitz games with a thinking time of 5 + 3, and if still tied, finally an 'Armageddon' game.

The following 16 players are starting in Riga:

  Player Federation
1 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov Azerbaijan
2 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave France
3 Anish Giri Netherlands
4 Wesley So USA
5 Levon Aronian Armenia
6 Alexander Grischuk Russia
7 Hikaru Nakamura USA
8 Sergey Karjakin Russia
9 Yu Yangyi China
10 Peter Svidler Russia
11 Veselin Topalov Bulgaria
12 David Navara Czech Republic
13 Jan-Krzysztof Duda Poland
14 Harikrishna Pentala India
15 Nikita Vitiugov Russia
16 Daniil Dubov Russia

Distribution of Grand Prix points

The Grand Prix points are distributed in each tournament as follows:

Round Grand Prix Points
Winner 8
Runner-up 5
Loser of semi-final 3
Loser in Round 2 1
Loser in Round 1 0

In addition, players receive an additional Grand Prix point for every match win without needing tie-break.

Prize fund

The Grand Prix series is carries a respectable prize pool. The total prize fund of the series is EUR €800,000 and each of the four individual Grand Prix tournaments comes with a prize fund of €130,000. The winner of a Grand Prix tournament receives €24,000, and the runner-up receives €14,000. Semifinalists will earn € 10,000, those exiting in round two receive €8,000 and the eight players who are eliminated in round one, still receive €5,000 each.

In addition there is the overall ranking. The winner of the series will receive €50,000 with second earning €45,000, and both qualify for the Candidates Tournament 2020. The third overall will receive €40,000, the fourth €35,000 and then it will continue in €5,000 increments down to the 9th and 10th spots, each of whom take home €10,000. If players are tied, the prize money is shared.

Grand Prix Standings after the first leg

  Player Moscow Riga Hamburg Tel Aviv Total
1  Ian Nepomniachtchi (RUS) 9       9
2  Alexander Grischuk (RUS) 7       7
3  Radoslaw Wojtaszek (POL) 5       5
4  Hikaru Nakamura (USA) 3       3
5  Peter Svidler (RUS) 2       2
6  Wei Yi (CHN) 2       2
7  Daniil Dubov (RUS) 2       2
8  Wesley So (USA) 1       1
9  Anish Giri (NED) 0       0
10  Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (AZE) 0       0
11  Levon Aronian (ARM) 0       0
12  Teimour Radjabov (AZE) 0       0
13  Sergey Karjakin (RUS) 0       0
14  Nikita Vitiugov (RUS) 0       0
15  Jan-Krzysztof Duda (POL) 0       0
16  Dmitry Jakovenko (RUS) 0       0
17  Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA)          
18  Veselin Topalov (BUL)          
19  Yu Yangyi (CHN)          
20  Pentala Harikrishna (IND)          
21  David Navara (CZE)          

Source: Wikipedia

Dates of subsequent Grand Prix tournaments

  • Hamburg, 4th to 18th November 2019
  • Tel Aviv, 10 to 24 December 2019

The organizer of the Grand Prix series is World Chess.


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methos methos 7/25/2019 07:43
This is a disgrace- world champions and contenders being decided by blitz and Armageddon.

Please everyone, vote for classical games to decide classical titles.
Peter B Peter B 7/25/2019 01:00
I'd much prefer more rounds of blitz chess before going to Armageddon. At the last world championship, the rules were 4 rapid games then 5 pairs of blitz games. Armageddon would only played if all 5 pairs of blitz mini-matches were tied 1-1. I don't object to Armageddon as a last resort, but it should be a last resort.
Ajeeb007 Ajeeb007 7/24/2019 09:19
It seems that Black comes out the victor in Armageddon games to a disproportionate degree . Draw odds are hard to over come at that level.
besler besler 7/22/2019 06:58
Excellent game by Mamedyarov! The final position is quite comical: Material is equal, but both VL's pieces are completely dominated and will never be able to move! Great to see him playing well again after his tough result at the Grand Chess Tour. Mamedyarov is one of my favorite modern players: his style of chess is aggressive, inspiring and filled with new ideas. He definitely deserves good results!
KrushonIrina KrushonIrina 7/22/2019 04:57
Masterful performance by Shak against MVL, Game 1. The man is playing boss chess, as Maurice would say.
Jacob woge Jacob woge 7/18/2019 05:11
Speed chess play-off leads to short draws. This is not the only qualifying event to suffer from this. Even in the face of extra GP points with a classic win you still have it.

Why? one may ask.

One reason I could imagine is that if you have something prepared for your opponent, it has more chance of paying out in short time control. With enough time he might figure out what to do.
Peter B Peter B 7/18/2019 01:07
@jsaldea12 but they can qualify by the World Cup instead... whoops, that's the same format. So 4 out of 8 Candidates spots determined by 2-game mini-matches + tie breaks. I agree, it is a terrible format. The World Cup is a fine as a wild card for the last 1 or 2 Candidates places, but there is no need for it in this Grand Prix format. They could fit in proper round robins in less time.
englishplayer englishplayer 7/17/2019 11:47
Rooster85, I totally agree with you. The format on the tables seems to have a problem with the knockout format of the tournament. It's difficult to follow the results.
Also, what's with Karjakin playing 2 games (unless I'm mistaken) with white and taking 16-20 move draws? Was he playing to get it down to the shortest time control?
rooster85 rooster85 7/17/2019 10:55
why does the "match result" table only show 2 games, with confusing round numbering? Can you show the whole tiebreak matches table? With the official site being completely useless as far as results (only for oversized photos, perhaps) and chessbase not being able to show a decent results table, I've found only another webpage with 24 in their name being able to correctly report what is happening in this grand prix...
Green22 Green22 7/16/2019 06:55
No fighting spirit from S0 with White today? 19 move draw? I'm rooting for him!
jsaldea12 jsaldea12 7/16/2019 01:05
Giri, Nakamura, Aronian are knock out in this format. They are among the top players. This knock out format does not bring out the best player, no chance of recovering
Ajeeb007 Ajeeb007 7/15/2019 03:10
FIDE's idea of settling these contests with Armaggedon games is brilliant. It was very entertaining watching Aronian and Yangyi duke it out with hands flailing and pieces being knocked over left and right. It seemed like a night at the local club with the only thing missing being the whoops and hollers of the onlookers. Who knew top flight chess could be so much fun to watch.