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Vachier-Lagrave Surmounts Tenacious So – Chess.com

GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave defeated GM Wesley So in the 2022 Speed ​​Chess Championship on Wednesday. Early in the game, Vachier-Lagrave took a four-point lead, but So fought back to tie the score in the bullet segment. With just 12 minutes left on the game clock, the French grandmaster shifted into a new gear and won four games in a row to seal victory.

GMs Hikaru Nakamura and Nihal Sarin face each other in the first semifinal December 15 at 06:00 PT / 15:00 CET.

How to watch?
You can watch the 2022 Speed ​​Chess Championship at Chess.com/TV. You can also enjoy the show on our Twitch channel and watch all of our live broadcasts at YouTube.com/ChesscomLive. The matches can also be followed from our Events page. Live broadcast of the game hosted by GMs Daniel Naroditsky and Robert Hess.


Blitz 5|1: Vachier-Lagrave-So 6-3

So scored the first point with an impeccable win against Vachier-Lagrave’s trademark Najdorf.

Vachier-Lagrave hit back with two wins in a row and created tactical play in the endgame with clever small piece maneuvers in game three.

Game eight was absolute madness with both sides promoted to two women each in the time battle, but Vachier-Lagrave had prepared a ladder mate at the end― extending his lead to four points. This wild clash is our game of the day annotated by GM Rafael Leitao.

So ended the five-minute blitz with an explosive offensive win.

Blitz 3|1: Vachier-Lagrave-So 4-5

After a tie in game one, So won again in a complex queen and horse vs. two rooks and bishop ending.

In game four, Vachier-Lagrave infiltrated So’s weakened dark squares to win a Maroczy Bind miniature.

A crucial element to Vachier-Lagrave’s success was a more varied opening repertoire. Commentator Hess commented that the blitz world champion was “as diverse as he has ever seen”, and Vachier-Lagrave confirmed this after the match: “The plan was to experiment with openings, especially with black.”

Towards the end of the 3-1, So managed to halve Vachier-Lagrave’s lead to two points with insightful play in a better ending between bishop and knight.

It came down to the bullet part between these two top-notch grandmasters. Would So’s comeback continue? Or would Vachier-Lagrave carry his lead to victory?

Bullet 1|1: Vachier-Lagrave-So 6.5-4.5

Out of the gates in game two, So took this exciting game to a one point difference with accurate play in an advantageous rook end.

So the game was almost tied in the next game, but Vachier-Lagrave’s amazing defensive abilities held up despite being under considerable pressure for many moves.

However, in the next game, So conjured an attack that drove his opponent’s king out of the kingside, through the middle, into the queenside, and thenall the way back to the kingside for the final checkmate.

The new tie seemed to revive Vachier-Lagrave, who immediately retook his lead with tactical play in a complicated midgame with no queen.

This was the start of a five match winning streak, sealing the victory in convincing fashion.

In the post-match interview, Vachier-Lagrave shared his approach to modern opening preparation: “Usually in the opening you’re not really looking for an advantage. So my thought is, ‘Which line should I play against’? what opponent?” …Choices vary depending on your opponent at this level as we still have clear strengths… big strengths that we try to use.

The reigning World Blitz Champion will face GM Magnus Carlsen in the semifinals. Vachier-Lagrave candidly shared his thoughts on his chances against the world champion: “It doesn’t matter what kind of Magnus comes on Friday, I’ll be ready for a big fight.”

It doesn’t matter which Magnus comes on Friday, I’m ready for a big fight.

-Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

Vachier-Lagrave won $4,706.90 while So earned $1,293.10 for his efforts.

Final score






Player Flag 5+1 3+1 1+1 Total
Maxime Vachier Lagrave 6 4 6.5 16.5
So Wesley 3 5 4.5 12.5

All Games – Quarter Finals

Speed ​​Chess Championship 2022 bracket

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The main event of the 2022 Speed ​​Chess Championships started on November 23 and ends on December 20. Top speed chess players compete at three different time controls in a 16-player knockout as they compete for a share of the $100,000 prize pool, along with the most prestigious title in online chess.

Grandmasters Magnus Carlsen, Hikaru Nakamura, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Ding Liren, Nodirbek Abdusattorov and many others compete for the 2022 blitz champion.


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