Chess: Vachier-Lagrave edges US rivals in St Louis amid glut of draws


Leonard Barden

Frenchman’s opening skills impress at prestigious Sinquefield Cup as all games drawn in three of the last four rounds

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, 30, France’s top player and the world No 10, edged out three US rivals by half a point on Thursday night to capture the $90,000 first prize at America’s most important international event, the annual Sinquefield Cup in St Louis.

The Sinquefield had begun promisingly with a wave of attacking chess in the first three rounds, but then subsided as all five games in rounds six, eight and nine were drawn. Vachier-Lagrave’s halved final game against Azerbaijan’s Shakhriyar Mamedyarov followed a sequence which contains a queen sacrifice and looks spectacular until you consult the database and find 15 exact replicas, the majority played among top grandmasters.

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