Tata Steel India: Vachier-Lagrave grabs the lead

by André Schulz
9/6/2023 – Out of the four players who were sharing the lead after the first day of action at Tata Steel India Rapid tournament, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave recorded the best score in rounds 4-6. The Frenchman is now the sole leader in Kolkata with 4½ out of 6 points. Teimour Radjabov stands in sole second place, a half point back. | Photo: ChessBase India

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MVL the only undefeated player

Vincent Keymer could not repeat his good performance from the first day of play at the Tata Steel India Rapid event, as he only scored a half point on Wednesday. Germany’s strongest grandmaster lost to Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the fourth round.

Keymer also lost to Nodirbek Abdusattorov in round 5, while he managed to stop the bleeding by holding Pentala Harikrishna to a draw in the final round of the day. With a rook, knight and pawn against queen and pawn, Keymer was actually in a lost position, but after a few inaccurate moves by his opponent, the German managed to escape.

Dommaraju Gukesh was also sharing the lead after the first day of play, but was hardly better than Keymer in the following three rounds. Gukesh lost to Vidit Gujrathi and signed draws against Vachier-Lagrave and Arjun Eirigaisi respectively.

The remaining co-leader after the first three rounds, Teimour Radjabov, started the day with two wins — against Harikrishna and Alexander Grischuk — but then lost to Vidit.

Teimour Radjabov

Teimour Radjabov | Photo: Vivek Sohani

MVL thus grabbed the sole lead in Kolkata. After beating Keymer and drawing Gukesh, the Frenchman defeated Abdusattorov to end the day with 4½ points to his name. Radjabov stands in sole second place, half a point behind. There is a small gap behind him, as Gukesh, Vidit and Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu all have collected 3 points so far.

Praggnanandhaa, who was heavily celebrated after his World Cup success, has not been able to really put himself in the limelight at the rapid and blitz event. Perhaps the hype surrounding him is having a somewhat negative effect. Magnus Carlsen had similar experiences in the past at his home tournaments in Stavanger.

On Thursday, the third and final day of the rapid tournament will take place. The double-round blitz event will follow on Friday and Saturday.

Vidit Gujrathi

Vidit Gujrathi | Photo: Vivek Sohani

Standings after round 6

All games


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.