Latest news

Features Nov 1, 2016 | 1:41 PMby IM David Martínez

MVL triumphs in Corsica

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave has won the 20th edition of the Corsican Circuit after beating Vishy Anand in the final. The French no. 1 swept through the tournament, needing only two rapid games to win each of his four matches. Our report includes analysis of Maxime's dramatic final win with the black pieces against Anand in the Najdorf Sicilian.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave dominated in Corsica | photo: official website

The traditional Corsican tournament takes place in two phases. First there's a classical 9-round open to select 12 players, with Anton Korobov taking clear first on 7/9. You can play through the top games using the selector below:

Then the 12 qualifiers were joined by four of the world's top stars - Vishy Anand, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Teimour Radjabov and Hou Yifan - for a 16-player rapid knockout. Class told, with the favourites generally making it through, though some had more difficulties than others. 

15-year-old Romanian star Bogdan-Daniel Deac had held his own against Radjabov for two rapid games, one blitz game and now 125 moves of the second blitz game. It seemed they were headed for Armageddon, until 126...Ke5??

You can see the moment when Radjabov played 127.f4+! in the video above.

The ultimate winner, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, was on fire from the start, beating IM Bilel Bellahcene 2-0 in the last eight, with his use of the bishop pair to win with the black pieces standing out. He also scored a whitewash against Ukrainian GM Vladimir Onischuk. Once again it was his win with the black pieces that stood out - another brilliant effort in his beloved Najdorf!

The decisive game of the semifinals | photo: official website

In the semifinals Maxime met Anton Korobov - a tough nut to crack! Maxime won the first game with the white pieces despite getting a bad position in the opening. When the queens came off, however, he seized the initiative and took his chance. In the second game Korobov employed the move 9.Nd2, which merits attention as a good alternative to the hackneyed 9.Qd2:

The game soon reached virgin territory, with Maxime failing to fully equalise and having to suffer in a rook and opposite-coloured bishop ending a pawn down. 

The final stages of the 2016 Corsican Masters

The other semifinal took place between Anand and Radjabov. The Indian had only conceded a single draw up to that point in the tournament, and was pressing with the white pieces. The Azeri star seemed to have established a fortress, though, until he committed a grave error:

Radjabov could have repeated with 67...Ra7 and it seems there's no way for White to improve his position, since 68.Rf6 can be met with Be8, not permitting any liquidation. Instead he went for 67... Rd5+? which regained the pawn by force... but also lost the game! After 68.Kc6 Rd4 69.Rb7 Rxf4 Anand simplified with 70.Rxf7+! reaching an easily won pawn ending. A draw in the second game took Anand into the final.

Watch this video recap of the quarter and semifinals:

The final showdown

If it had been an arm-wrestling contest the outcome might have been different! | photo: official website

After a draw in the first game, with Vishy choosing a neat rook vs. queen fortress to finish, the match was decided by Maxime with the black pieces in the second game. 

For the final the players moved to Corsica's capital, Ajaccio | photo: official website

His opening play may have been inaccurate at times, but when he got to switch to dynamic play in his beloved Najdorf he didn't put a foot wrong:

Click "moves" to see the annotations

Replay all the knockout stage games with computer analysis:

In short, a great tournament took place in Corsica with theoretical discussions, fine play and, of course, time trouble blunders - what more could you ask for?

See also:

Sort by Date Descending Date Descending Date Ascending Most Liked Receive updates

Comments 4

Guest 4673846971
Join chess24
  • Free, Quick & Easy

  • Be the first to comment!


Create your free account now to get started!

I am aged 16 or older.

By clicking ‘Register’ you agree to our terms and conditions and confirm you have read our privacy policy, including the section on the use of cookies.

Lost your password? We'll send you a link to reset it!

After submitting this form you'll receive an email with the reset password link. If you still can't access your account please contact our customer service.

Data Consent Details

We respect your privacy and data protection guidelines.

Using chess24 requires the storage of some personal data, as set out below. You can find additional information in our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, Disclaimer and Terms of Website Use. Please note that your data settings can be changed at any time by clicking on the Data Settings link in the footer at the bottom of our website.

data details

Necessary Data

Some data is technically necessary to be able to visit the page at all. A so-called cookie stores identifiers that make it possible to respond to your individual requests. It contains a session ID - a unique, anonymous user ID combined with an authentication identifier (user_data). A security identifier (csrf) is also stored to prevent a particular type of online attack. All of these fields are alpha-numeric, with almost no relation to your real identity. The only exception is that we monitor some requests with the IP address that you are currently using, so that we are able to detect malicious use or system defects. Additionally, a technical field is stored (singletab) to ensure that some interactions are only processed in the browser tab that is currently active. For example, a new chess game will not be opened in all your current tabs. We use your local storage to save the difference between your local clock and our server time (serverUserTimeOffset), so that we are able to display the date and time of events correctly for you. You can also enable more data fields, as described in the other sections. Your personal decision on which data storage to enable is also stored as necessary information (consent).

Settings Data

We offer a range of personal settings for your convenience. Options include which opponents you prefer to be paired against, your preferred chessboard and pieces, the board size, the volume setting of the video player, your preferred language, whether to show chat or chess notation, and more. You can use our web page without storing this data, but if you would like to have your individual settings remembered we recommend enabling this feature. For logged-in registered users this setting is mandatory to store information about your privacy settings, users you have blocked and your friendship settings. As a registered user we also store your data consent in these settings.

Social Media Data

We embed a Twitter feed showing activity for the hashtag #c24live and also make it possible to share content in social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+. If you enable this option social networks are able to store data in your cookies or local storage for the purpose of these features.

Statistics Data

We would like to measure how our page is used with Google Analytics, so that we can decide which features to implement next and how to optimize our user experience. If you enable this feature Google will store your device identifiers and we will send tracking events (such as page requests) to Google Analytics. These have no direct relationship to your person except for the IP address currently being used.

Marketing Data

To help cover the cost of free services we would like to show you advertisements from our partner networks. Members of these networks store data on the banners shown to you and try to deliver ads that are relevant. If you choose not to allow this kind of data we have to show more anonymous advertisements and will be more limited in the free services we can offer.

Other Data

For registered users we store additional information such as profile data, chess games played, your chess analysis sessions, forum posts, chat and messages, your friends and blocked users, and items and subscriptions you have purchased. You can find this information in your personal profile. A free registration is not required to use this application. If you decide to contact the support team a ticket is created with information that includes your name and email address so that we can respond to your concern. This data is processed in the external service Zendesk. If you subscribe to a newsletter or are registered we would like to send you occasional updates via email. You can unsubscribe from newsletters and as a registered user you can apply several mail settings to control how your email address is used. For newsletters we transfer your email address and username to the external service MailChimp. If you buy content or subscriptions on chess24 we work with the payment service provider Adyen, which collects your payment data and processes information about the payment such as fraud protection data.