Grand Prix Rapid won by Vachier-Lagrave

by ChessBase
5/1/2012 – The introduction of FIDE Rapid ratings has given new life to events which previously were only considered light chess fun, with the the added ratings that allow players to keep track of their relative strengths at different time controls. With nearly 200 players, grandmasters and masters, and prizes for all categories, everyone was served. In the end, Vachier-Lagrave was served a bit more.

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Grand Prix in Nancy

The tournament poster

The introduction of FIDE Rapid ratings has given new life to events which previously were considered light chess fun, with a potential pay day at the end. While this continues to be true, the added ratings also allows players to keep track of their relative strengths at different time controls.

The open attracted nearly 200 players rated 880 to 2840

In France, the second stage of the Rapid Grand Prix was held in Nancy, attracting no fewer than eighteen grandmasters including the top eight French players. On Saturday, there was an Open that any could join, with nine rounds at fifteen minutes plus a three-second increment.

Almira Skripchenko was unable to resist the top-seed Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

To make sure all felt they had a chance at something, the organizers provided a full range of category prizes, including best female player, best senior, youth prizes and ratings categories. The top seven players were to then join GM Christian Bauer, invited by the organizers, to play in a knockout event the next day to fight for the top prize of 4000 Euros. After the dust had settled, the finalists were Sébastien Feller, Christian Bauer, Vladislav Tkachiev, Tigran Gharamian, Etienne Bacrot, Andrei Istratescu, Laurent Fressinet, and Maxime Vachier Lagrave.

The final was held in the conference hall in the Grand Nancy center

Although there were strong foreign GMs, such as top German GM Naiditsch, the top
eight French players were also the eight in the kockout stage.

The gold went to Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, who not only was the top performer in the qualifying open, but then beat Tkachiev in the quarter finals, Bacrot in the semis, and outlasted Fressinet in the finals which went to the tie-breaking blitz. Vachier-Lagrave came in the favorite with the highest rapid rating at 2840, and also having won the first stage of the Grand Prix a few months earlier, and confirmed his proficiency at this time control.

Etienne Bacrot was unable to stop the locomotive seated across him

Laurent Fressinet beat Andrei Istratescu for a berth in the final

It was a tense match that went to the wire, but Maxime ultimately came on top


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