Maxime Vachier-Lagrave was born October 21, 1990 in Nogent-sur-Marne, just outside of Paris. A genuine prodigy, he became the then second-youngest grandmaster in the world in 2005, at the age of 14 years 4 months (Magnus Carlsen was the youngest at that time).
<Age – French Nationals> Vachier-Lagrave won the French U8 championship in 1997, aged 6 with a TPR of 1643. 2 years later in 1999 at the age of 8, he won the U10 Championship with 7/8. The following year in 2000, the 9 year-old won the national U12 championship and in 2002, the then 11 year old took out the U16 French championship. In 2003, the 12 year old was runner up in the U18 championships but won the U20 Championship in 2004, aged 13, with a score of 8/9 and a TPR of 2604.
<Age – World> In 2000, Vachier-Lagrave came =2nd (3rd on count back) in the World U-10 championship with 8½ points out of 11 behind winner Ngoc Truongson Nguyen and alongside Sergey Karjakin (but behind on count back) with a TPR of 2234. The following year, he came 3rd in the World U12 Championship with 8 points out of 11. Two years later in 2003, he came second on count back to Sergei Zhigalko in the U14 World Championship with 9/11. Then in 2005, Vachier-Lagrave finished =2nd behind Aleksandr Lenderman (3rd on countback behind Ian Nepomniachtchi) in the U16 World Championship with 8½ out of 11. All these near misses were a precursor to winning the 48th World Junior Championship (2009) in tiebreak over Sergei Zhigalko. Both had scored 10.5/13 in the tournament. His title win has qualified him for participation in the World Cup (2011).
<French City and Nationals> Vachier-Lagrave gained his first GM norm when came =1st alongside GMs Murtas Kazhgaleyev, Konstantin Landa, Jean-Marc Degraeve, Amir Bagheri, Alberto David and Pavel Tregubov at the Paris championships of 2004; on countback the then FIDE Master came =3rd. He also won the Championship of Paris in 2007 and 2008. In 2005, he came =2nd (3rd on count back) behind Joel Lautier at the French Championship with 7/11 and a TPR of 2660. The following year, he finished 5th at the French Championship with 6 points out of 11 and a TPR of 2608. He won the French Championships (2007) after beating GM Vladislav Tkachiev in tiebreak match, both players having finished with 7.5 out of 11. He came second in the 2008 French Championship behind Etienne Bacrot and again came 2nd, this time behind Tkachiev, in the 2009 French Championship with 8/11. He did not compete in the 2010 event, but won the French Championships (2011) with 7/11 (+3 =8). He placed =1st in the French Championship (2012), and was declared co-champion alongside Christian Bauer, Romain Edouard and Etienne Bacrot.
<Continental> Vachier-Lagrave came =2nd (6th on count back) with 8/11 and a 2750 TPR at the 9th European Individual Championships (2007), half point behind Tiviakov. He came =5th at the European Individual Championship (2008) with 7/9, a point behind winner Jan Werle, and half a point behind 2-4th Viktor Laznicka, Nigel Short and Michael Adams.
<World> He competed in the World Cup (2009) and in his first attempt, he reached the fourth round, defeating Yu Shaoteng in round one, Georg Meier in round two, Yangyi Yu in round three before bowing out to the eventual winner of the tournament, Boris Gelfand. He qualified for the World Cup (2011) as 2009 World Junior Champion, although he would have otherwise qualified via his rating. In the first round, he defeated Bangladeshi GM Ziaur Rahman but lost to Chinese GM Bu Xiangzhi in round two in the rapid game tiebreaker after they drew the classical-games mini-match. Vachier-Lagrave was one of the President's nominees to the World Cup (2013), where he defeated US GM Alexander Shabalov in the first round, GM Isan Reynaldo Ortiz Suarez in the second round, his 2nd Cuban opponent, GM Leinier Dominguez Perez in the third round, the previous World Champion Challenger Israeli GM Boris Gelfand in the Round of 16 (round 4), and American-Italian GM Fabiano Caruana in the quarter final (round 5). However, he was eliminated by former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik in the tiebreaker of the semi-final (round 6). Although he did not qualify for the Candidates, his final four placement in the Cup assured his qualification for the next World Cup in 2015.
His earliest serious success was winning the 50th APSAP International Tournament in Paris in February 2002 at the age of 11, scoring 6/9. In Dec 2004, he gained his second GM norm when he won the NAO GM Tournament with 6/9 (TPR 2605). He gained his third GM norm at the GM Tournament in Évry in Feb 2005, finishing second with 7½/9 (TPR of 2712). Later that year he won the Premier Open Gratuit Évry with 7/7. In 2006, he played his first Aeroflot, competing in the A1 division, scoring 6/9 and finishing =5th (6th on count back) with a TPR of 2775, half a point behind the leaders. Also in 2006, he won the Lausanne Young Masters (2006) ahead of Vugar Gashimov, Wang Yue, Radoslaw Wojtaszek, Alexander Areshchenko, Borki Predojevic, Koneru Humpy and Tatiana Kosintseva. In 2007, he competed at Corus Group B (2007), finishing =2nd (5th on count back) of with 8 points out of 13, a point behind the winner, Pavel Eljanov. In 2008, he won the Gyorgy Marx VI (2008) in Hungary with 7/10. In 2009 Vachier-Lagrave won Biel International Chess Festival (2009) in a breakthrough performance over Vassily Ivanchuk, Alexander Morozevich, and Boris Gelfand. 2010 saw him come =1st in a field of fellow junior super-grandmasters at the Biel Chess Festival (2010) with 5.5/9, but came third on tiebreak behind Fabiano Caruana and Ngoc Truongson Nguyen respectively. In Oct 2010, he won the quadrangular Unive Tournament (2010) 4.5/6 and he subsequently finished =5th at Tata Steel (2011) behind Hikaru Nakamura, Viswanathan Anand, Levon Aronian and Carlsen alongside Vladimir Kramnik with 7.5/13, scored 5.5/9 at Aeroflot Open (2011) and placing =3rd with Alexey Shirov behind Magnus Carlsen and Alexander Morozevich respectively, and won the French Championships (2011) in August before proceeding to the 2011 World Cup. He came third in the 15th Unive (Crown Group) (2011) with 2.5/6 (=5 -1) behind a rampaging Kramnik (4.5/6) and Anish Giri (3/6). A disappointing performance in the Tradewise Gibraltar (2012) (6/10) saw his rating slip well below 2700, a situation which was not redressed at the 13th European Individual Championship (2012) where he only scored 7/11 or in the 2011-12 Bundesliga where he only scored 3/6. However, a strong performance in the 2012 Olympiad playing top board for France and an outright win with 6/10 in the category 18 SPICE Cup (2012) in October restored him to the 2700 club. Vachier-Lagrave finished 2012 by competing in the World Cities Team Championship (see below under "Team") and in the concurrently played Al Ain Classic. After his Paris team was eliminated, he exercised his right to bring his 4 games from the Cities Championship and to slot into the 5th round of the Al Ain Classic that was running simultaneously; he scored 7/9, sharing =1st with Romain Edouard but placing 2nd on tiebreak.
2013 started with a modest result in the Basel Chess Festival 2013, with Vachier-Lagrave placing 5th with 5/7, a half point behind the 4 co-leaders on 5.5. He then picked up a gear by placing =1st alongside Chanda Sandipan, Nikita Vitiugov and Nigel Short in the Tradewise Gibraltar (2013) tournament, but ended up at =3rd with Sandipan after losing to Short in the Tradewise Gibraltar (Tiebreaks) (2013). He scored 7/10 at the Reykjavik Open (2013), a point off the lead, and an average result by his standards. In April 2013, he placed =4th at the category 20 Alekhine Memorial (2013) with 4.5/9 (+2 -2 =5). In August 2013 in the lead up to the World Cup, Vachier-Lagrave won the category 19 Biel (2013). Afterwards, he came 3rd in the category 21 quadrangular Bilbao Masters (2013) behind Levon Aronian and Michael Adams.
2014 started with a good result at Tradewise Gibraltar (2014), where he scored 7.5/10 to place 4th and accumulate some handy rating points to take him into the top 10 (albeit live ratings) for the first time.
Vachier-Lagrave played first reserve for France at the 37th Chess Olympiad (2006) in Turin, scoring 6/10 (+3 =6 -1). At the 38th 2008 Olympiad (2008) in Dresden, he played 2nd board scoring 6.5/11. Playing top board at the 39th Chess Olympiad (2010) in Khantiy-Mansiysk, he scored 5/11. He played on top board for France again in the Chess Olympiad (2012) and scored 6.5/10.
European Team Championship
Vachier-Lagrave played for France in the European Team Chess Championships (2007) (board 4), the European Team Championship (2011) (board 2) and the European Team Championship (2013) (board 2), helping his team to win silver in 2013.
Vachier-Lagrave is a regular participant in the German Bundesliga and in the French team championships. He started playing in the U16 French team championship in 1997. Team results include U16 French championship 2004-2005: first board for NAO Chess Club, 7 points from 7 games, with the NAO-CC winning the club title. The following season, in 2005-06, in the U16 French championship he was again first board for NAO Chess Club, 7 points from 7 games, NAO-CC again earning the title. Also in 2005-2006, playing for the NAO team, he scored 6½ points from 8 games. NAO-CC won the championship for the fourth time in a row. In 2012, he scored 8/10 in the French Top 12 competition, helping his team Clichy to victory in the event. He played board 1 for Paris in the recent World Cities Team Championship (2012), and helped his team to the round of 16 before being unexpectedly eliminated by Baku. In 2013, he helped his team Clichy to win the French Top 12 league and his Spanish team Sestao Naturgas Energia to win the Spanish CECLUB. In October 2013, he played top board for Clichy Echecs 92 at the European Club Cup (2013), winning individual silver and helping his team to fourth place in the league.
Vachier-Lagrave won the European Blitz Championship (2010) ahead of Vassily Ivanchuk. He also won the European Blitz Championship of 2012, this time ahead of Gabriel Sargissian.
Ratings and rankings
Vachier-Lagrave's rating as at 1 May 2014 is:
<Standard> still 2758 (French #1; world #12, his highest rating so far);
<Rapid> 2749; and
References and sources
live ratings: http://www.2700chess.com/]; Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/Vachier_Lagr...; and
Wikipedia article: Maxime Vachier-Lagrave