Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

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Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
Vachier-Lagrave at the Candidates Tournament 2020–21
Born (1990-10-21) 21 October 1990 (age 32)
Nogent-sur-Marne, France
TitleGrandmaster (2005)
FIDE rating2727 (September 2023)
Peak rating2819 (August 2016)
RankingNo. 20 (September 2023)
Peak rankingNo. 2 (August 2016)
Medal record
Representing  France
Men's Chess
European Championship
Silver medal – second place 2013 Warsaw Team

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (French pronunciation: [maksim vaʃje laɡʁav]; born 21 October 1990), often referred to by his initials, MVL, is a French chess grandmaster who is a former World Blitz Champion.[1] With a peak rating of 2819, he is the seventh-highest rated player in history.

A chess prodigy, Vachier-Lagrave earned the title of grandmaster in 2005 at age 14. In 2007, he won the French Chess Championship, and in 2009, won the World Junior Chess Championship and the Biel Grandmaster Tournament. He repeated as French Chess Champion in 2011 and 2012 and as the winner of the Biel Grandmaster Tournament in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. He won the Sinquefield Cup in 2017 and 2021 and competed in the Candidates Tournament 2020–21, placing second.

He has participated in the Chess Olympiad and in the European Team Chess Championship, representing France.

Early life[edit]

From the age of six, Vachier-Lagrave competed in numerous sections of youth tournaments, winning the French Under-8 championship in 1997, U-10s in 1999, U-12s in 2000, U-16s in 2002, runner up in the U-18s in 2003 and won the U-20s in 2004 scoring 8/9.

He also took part in the World Youth Chess Championship, coming third in the U-10 division in 2000 (8½/11), third in the U-12 championship in 2001 (8/11), second in the U-14 event in 2003 (9/11) and third in U-16 section in 2005 (8½/11).

From 2001 to 2008, his FIDE rating increased steadily from 2198 in January 2001 to 2637 in January 2008. He passed 2600 in October 2007 and 2700 one year later.

He became an International Master in 2004 and achieved the Grandmaster title in 2005 at the age of 14 years and 4 months[2] after sharing first in the 2004 Paris Championship with 6½/9, winning the NAO GM tournament in 2004 with 6/9 and coming second in the Évry GM tournament in February 2005 with 7½/9.[3]

Chess career[edit]

French Championships[edit]

  • 2004: Winner of the French Junior Championship (U20).
  • In 2005, Vachier-Lagrave finished in third place at the French Chess Championship with 7/11.
  • Besançon 2006: finished 5th at the French Championship with 6 points out of 11 and a TPR of 2608.
  • Winner of 2007 French Championship after beating GM Vladislav Tkachiev in tiebreak match. In the main tournament he collected 7.5 out of 11.
  • Winner of the 2011 and 2012 French Championships.

Classical international tournaments[edit]

  • 2006: Aeroflot Open, Moscow: played the A1 (main) tournament, reserved for players having a rating superior to 2550. He finished sixth with 6 points out of 9 and a TPR of 2775.
Vachier-Lagrave playing against Viswanathan Anand during the Alekhine Memorial in Paris, 2013

FIDE Grand Prix and World Cups[edit]

Candidates Tournament 2020–2021[edit]

On 6 March, citing concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, Teimour Radjabov withdrew from the 2020–21 Candidates Tournament. His replacement was Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, as he was next on the qualifier by rating list. FIDE decided to postpone the second half of the tournament due to the coronavirus pandemic.[12] The tournament was resumed on 19 April 2021, and ended on 28 April 2021.[13]

Maxime ended the tournament with 8/14 points (4 wins, 8 draws, and 2 losses) getting second place, half a point behind the winner Ian Nepomniachtchi.[14]

Grand Chess Tour tournaments[edit]

  • 2015: Grand Chess Tour Participant
  • 2016:
    • Third Place at the Paris Rapid and Blitz Grand Chess Tour Tournament with a score of 22/36
    • 7th Place in the 2016 Grand Chess Tour.
  • 2017:
    • Second place at the Paris Grand Chess Tour (rapid and blitz), with a score of 24/36, after a tie-break with Magnus Carlsen
    • Winner of the 2017 Sinquefield Cup with 6 points out of 9 (+3=6), defeating Magnus Carlsen in their individual encounter.[15]
    • Second place at the 2017 Grand Chess Tour, behind Magnus Carlsen.
  • 2018:
    • Joint fifth through seventh place at the 2018 Sinquefield Cup, drawing all nine of his games.[16]
    • Second place at the Saint-Louis Rapid and Blitz with a score of 21,5/36
    • Second place at the London Chess Classic (beats Levon Aronian in the semi-final) 2018.[17]
    • Second place at the 2018 Grand Chess Tour, behind Hikaru Nakamura.
  • 2019:
    • Second place at Côte d'Ivoire Grand Chess Tour Rapid and Blitz tournament with a score of 23/36.[18]
    • Winner of the 2019 Paris Rapid and Blitz Grand Chess Tour tournament with a score of 21/36
    • Second-Fourth place in the Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz event with a score of 21.5/36. The second place was tied and shared with Ding Liren and Yu Yangyi.[19]
    • Second place at the London Chess Classic 2019 (beats Magnus Carlsen in the semi-final).
    • Second place at the 2019 Grand Chess Tour, behind Ding Liren.
  • 2021:
    • Third-fourth place in the 2021 Paris Rapid and Blitz Grand Chess Tour tournament
    • Winner of the Croatia Grand Chess Tour Rapid and Blitz tournament with a score of 23/36
    • Winner of the Sinquefield Cup with a score of 6 points out of 9 (+4=4-1)
    • Second place at the Grand Chess Tour 2021, behind Wesley So.
  • 2022
    • Winner of the Bucharest Superbet classic after a tie-break against Wesley So and Levon Aronian
    • Second-Third place Poland Grand Chess Tour Rapid and Blitz with a score of 22/36
    • Third-Fourth place at the Saint-Louis Rapid and Blitz with a score of 19/36
    • Third place at the Grand Chess Tour 2022, behind Alireza Firouzja and Wesley So.

Rapid, Blitz and Bullet tournaments and matches[edit]

Vachier-Lagrave (left) chatting with Vladimir Kramnik at the World Blitz Chess Championship, 2015 in Berlin. (Alexander Grischuk is on the right).
  • Winner of the 2010 Aeroflot Open Blitz Tournament
  • Winner of the 2010 European Blitz Championship.[20]
  • Winner of the 2011 SportAccord World Mind Games in Beijing
  • Winner of the 2011 Quenza Blitz Open Tournament
  • Winner of the 2012 Port-Marly Rapid Pyramid Grand Prix
  • Winner of the 2012 Biel Blitz Tournament
  • Winner of the 2012 European Blitz Championship.[21]
  • Winner of the 2013 Paris International Blitz Tournament
  • Winner of the 2013 Port-Marly Rapid Pyramids Grand Prix
  • Winner of the 2014 Paris International Blitz Tournament
  • Winner of the 2014 Paris International Rapid Tournament
  • Winner of the 2014 Venaco Casanova Rapid Open
  • Winner of the 2015 Norway Chess blitz tournament with 6.5 out of 9.
  • Winner of the 2015 Quenza Blitz Open Tournament
  • 2015: Second Place at the World Blitz Championship in Berlin with 15 points out of 21, only 0.5 point behind Alexander Grischuk.
  • Winner of the 2016 Ciamannacce Blitz Open Tournament
  • Winner of the 2016 Biel Masters Challenge Rapid match against Svidler
  • Winner of the 2016 Corsica Masters (rapid), beat Anand in the final.
  • 2016: Sixth Place at the World Blitz Championship in Doha with 14 points out of 21.
  • 2019: Third place in's Bullet Chess Championship, behind runner-up Oleksandr Bortnyk and Hikaru Nakamura, the winner.
  • Winner of the 2019 Norway Chess blitz tournament with 7.5 out of 9.
  • 2019: Fifth Place at the World Blitz Championship in Moscow with 14 points out of 21.
  • Winner of the 2021 World Blitz Championship in Warsaw with 15 points out of 21.


Vachier-Lagrave played in the French team championship with the NAO Chess Club teams since 1997. Team results include:

  • U16 French championship 2004–2005: first board for NAO Chess Club, 7 points from 7 games. NAO-CC earned the title
  • U16 French championship 2005–2006: first board for NAO Chess Club, 7 points from 7 games. NAO-CC again earned the title
  • Top 16 2006: NAO team, 6½ points from 8 games. NAO-CC won the championship for the fourth time in a row (2003 to 2006)

He played for the Évry Grand Roque chess club in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Since 2011, he plays for the Clichy club chess team in the Top12.

In the European Chess Club Cup, he played with SV Mülheim Nord (in 2008), SOCAR Baku (in 2010), Clichy Échecs 92 (in 2013) and Obiettivo Risarcimento Padova (2014–2016).[22]

Rapid and blitz rankings[edit]

In addition to his strength in classical time controls, Vachier-Lagrave is very skilled at rapid and blitz chess. As of September 2023, Maxime ranked eighth on the FIDE rapid list[23] and fifteenth on the blitz list.[24]

Personal life[edit]

Vachier-Lagrave also teaches chess on his personal YouTube channel, MVL Chess, and maintains a blog.


  1. ^ Federations Ranking: France Archived 8 December 2017 at the Wayback Machine. FIDE.
  2. ^ "Chess prodigies and mini-grandmasters". ChessBase. 10 January 2006. Retrieved 11 October 2015.
  3. ^ GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Susan Polgar Chess Daily News and Information: Vachier-Lagrave tops SPICE Cup". 22 October 2012. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  5. ^ World Cities team championship,"
  6. ^ A bit of history : A bit of history : The Al Ain Classic started as a side event of the 2012 World Cities Chess Team Championship. On that occasion it introduced a unique format: players eliminated from the knock-out team competition could join, carrying over their points total to the individual Swiss. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, who was eliminated by Romain Edouard in the main event, was the winner of the first Al Ain Classic.
  7. ^ "Aronian and Gelfand win Alekhine Memorial 2013". ChessBase News. 1 May 2013. Archived from the original on 15 June 2013. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  8. ^ Staff writer(s) (9 April 2018). "GRENKE Chess Classic 2018: Pairings & standings". Grenke Chess.
  9. ^ Doggers, Peter (7 June 2018). "Caruana Wins Norway Chess".
  10. ^ Yermolinsky, Alex (14 November 2018). "Vachier-Lagrave awarded Shenzen (sic) Masters win after three-way tie". Chessbase. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  11. ^ Shah, Sagar (22 September 2017). "FIDE World Cup 2017: And then there were two!". Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  12. ^ "Breaking News: FIDE stops the Candidates Tournament!". Chess News. 26 March 2020. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  13. ^ "FIDE resumes the Candidates Tournament". Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  14. ^ "FIDE Candidates Tournament 2020".
  15. ^ Venkatachalam Saravanan (22 August 2017). "Maxime Vachier-Lagrave at the Sinquefield Cup 2017 - a look at his games". Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  16. ^ Crowther, Mark (31 August 2018). "6th Sinquefield Cup 2018". Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  17. ^ Pereira, Antonio (17 December 2018). "Nakamura deservedly wins the 2018 Grand Chess Tour". Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  18. ^ "Results and Standings | Grand Chess Tour".
  19. ^ "St. Louis Rapid & Blitz Winners & Losers". chess24. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  20. ^ "European Blitz Championship 2010". FIDE. 18 December 2010. Archived from the original on 8 September 2015. Retrieved 11 October 2015.
  21. ^ "European Blitz Chess Championship 2012: Maxime Vachier-Lagrave takes gold medal". Chessdom. 14 December 2012. Retrieved 11 October 2015.
  22. ^ EUROPEAN MEN'S CHESS CLUB CUP, olimpbase.

External links[edit]