MVL & Nakamura Fight to a Standstill in 1st Final Game

Round-up Day 4 | 15 December 2018

 

  • France’s Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and American Hikaru Nakamura split the honours in a keenly contested Main Line Grunfeld in Game 1 of the London Chess Classic Final, the concluding event of the Grand Chess Tour, which was played at the Olympia Conference Centre.

  • The result ratchets up the tension for Game 2, which will be broadcast live from 14:00 UTC on Sunday, as a win would give a lead of 6 points going into the Rapid and Blitz portion of the match on Monday.

  • In the Third Place Playoff match, Levon Aronian challenged Fabiano Caruana strongly in an Italian Game, but the players acquiesced to a draw by repetition as Caruana neutralized Aronian’s initiative.

  • Game 1 in the British Knockout Final and Third Place Playoff matches also finished in well-contested draws.

 

LONDON (December 14, 2018) – Hikaru Nakamura took on Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in a main line of his favourite Grunfeld Defence in Game 1 of the London Chess Classic on Saturday but failed to achieve any advantage. After Nakamura’s far advanced passed d-pawn fell, MVL emerged with a small endgame edge, but was unable to convert it and a draw was agreed in 50 moves.

Hikaru Nakamura and Maxime-Vachier Lagrave contest a Main Line Grunfeld in Game 1 of their

Grand Chess Tour Final at Olympia London. The game was drawn in 50 moves. (Photo: Lennart Ootes)

The result leaves the players on 3 points each going into Game 2. In total, the Grand Chess Tour Final will be decided over 2 Classical, 2 Rapid and 4 Blitz games, with a total of 28 points at stake. The winner of the Grand Chess Tour Final will pocket $120,000, while the runner-up will take home $80,000.

 

In the Third Place Playoff match, Levon Aronian caused Fabiano Caruana some awkward moments with a sharp pawn sacrifice for the initiative in an Italian Game, but Caruana was able to neutralize Aronian’s play and the players opted for a repetition after a series of checks against Caruana’s uncastled king.

 
Day 4 Games | Download PGN
 
 

In the British Knockout Final, Gawain Jones managed to neutralize Luke McShane’s Italian Game, rounding up an insufficiently defended extra kingside pawn to force a drawn king and pawn ending.

 

In the British KO Third Place Playoff, Mickey Adams pressed David Howell strongly in an offbeat Two Knights Caro-Kann. The game was drawn in 41 moves, when Adams was the exchange up for a pawn in the ending.

 

Full regulations governing the London Chess Classic Final and Third Place Playoff matches can be viewed here.

 


 

 


 

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Tim Wall, @London_Chess, press officer, London Chess Classic

 

 


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