Vachier-Lagrave awarded Shenzen Masters win after three-way tie

by Alex Yermolinsky
11/14/2018 – As tournaments go, this was an odd one: with nine draws and one win, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave took the Shenzhen Masters with a mere 5½ points from 10 games. Since Ding Liren and Anish Giri both also scored 5½, but 'MVL' beat Ding in their direct encounter, the Frenchman had the better tiebreak. Giri earned a notable first victory in the final round against Radoslaw Wojtaszek. GM ALEX YERMOLINSKY sends his final thoughts. | Photo:

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87% drawn

The tournament turned out to be a mild disappointment. Perhaps, the schedule is to blame. The European participants appeared to be fatigued after a stretch of important events: the Olympiad, followed by the Euro Club Cup, and then the Isle of Man. A long trip to China also didn't help.

In the end, Vachier-Lagrave, Giri and Vitiugov only managed to win one game each, while Wojtaszek, after his phenomenal IoM performance, crashed and burned with -3.

Round 10 playing hall

The end of the (Longgang) road | Photo:

The main dish was the end of Ding Liren's 100 game unbeaten streak, which came at the hands of Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. Certainly, the game of the tournament from Round 7:


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Being a warrior he is, Ding came back in the next round by beating his compatriot Yu Yangyi.


While being a nice technical display by the winner, this game also shows the lack of resilience from the second player. It seemed to be a pattern, as the tournament went along and the players were getting tired. A few examples to follow. As you can see, Radoslaw Wojtaszek took the brunt of it.


Click or tap the second game to switch

Friendship match

After Round 10 the GMs partook in a "friendship match" with local chess enthusiasts | Photo:

How cruel life can be, when on the heels of the glory of sharing top honours with his wife, Alina Kashlinskaya, at the Isle of Man, Radoslaw went on to have arguably the worst tournament of his career. On top of that, Alina got eliminated from the Women's World Championship in the first round. The good thing is Rado and Alina are young and in love. A couple of weeks in a nice place together, and they'll be as good as new.

Congrats to Anish, Maxime and Liren for sharing first place. Now we can all go back to watching the big show in London.

Final standings


All Shenzhen Masters game



Yermo is enjoying his fifties. Lives in South Dakota, 600 miles way from the nearest grandmaster. Between his chess work online he plays snooker and spends time outdoors - happy as a clam.


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