By Mirsaid Ibrahimzade
Azerbaijani grandmaster Shakhriyar Mammadyarov has won the FIDE Grand Prix in Riga. He beat Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in a nerve-wracking tie-break thanks to a win in the last Armaggedon game.
Thanks to this victory in the second leg of the Grand Prix Series, Mammadyarov shared the lead with Alexander Grischuk with 10 points in the overall standing.
During an ultimate Armaggedon blitz, Vachier-Lagrave drew the white pieces and decided to refrain from his usual 1.e4 to play in a less forcing way. This strategy backfired, as he quickly caught up Mammadyarov on the clock and failed to put pressure on his opponent’s position.
On the contrary, Black took over the initiative and never risked losing. With a few seconds left on the clock and a bad position, Vachier-Lagrave admitted defeat.
The closing ceremony took place shortly after the games were over, and was attended by Anastasia Sorokina, FIDE Vice President, and Dana Reizniece-Ozola, Vice President of the European Chess Union.
Shakhriyar Mammadyarov thanked all who contributed to preparing Riga FIDE Grand Prix. He said that the final had been incredibly hard and congratulated Maxime Vachier-Lagrave on his amazing play during the past two weeks.
This victory in Riga nets Mammadyarov 24,000 euros and propels him to the shared lead in the FIDE Grand Prix Series. He and the Russian Alexander Grischuk total 10 points.
At the end of the four Grand Prix tournaments in December, the best two finishers will qualify to next year’s Candidates Tournament. The winner of that event will become the challenger of Magnus Carlsen in the 2020 World Championship match.
Mirsaid Ibrahimzade is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @MirsaidIbrahim1
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