GM Nikita Vitiugov vs. GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
Opening: E60: KID
Player(s): Vitiugov, Vachier-Lagrave
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The Tradewise Gibraltar Masters is one of the best Swiss System tournaments on the calendar, always attracting a host of big name players. This year Nikita Vitiugov won a four-man playoff, besting Nigel Short at the end, to take the first prize. While ties are common in large events, it looked like a sole winner would emerge in the final round. When players are tied for first they may approach each other with a conservative game plan, at least at the onset.
Our feature game, contested by Vitiugov and Maxime-Vachier Lagrave, could not be further from that scenario! After a handful of moves they were in virgin territory, exploring a bizarre position that almost defies assessment. Both players surely lamented missed opportunities, but their lapses do not diminish the pleasure for the fans. So let’s enjoy, if we cannot completely understand, this most unusual game.