Maxime Vachier-Lagrave won the Grand Chess Tour Romania 2022, the first event of the 2022 Grand Chess Tour series. On the long way to the crown, he first needed to take down Alireza Firouzja in the last round of the Superbet Chess Classic to catch up with the two former leaders Wesley So and Levon Aronian and take them to the playoffs. With three victories in one day (one against Firouzja and two in the thrilling playoffs) Maxime Vachier-Lagrave was ultimately declared the winner of the event, winning 10 GCT points and pocketing over $77,000.
During the closing ceremony of the event, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave said he is very satisfied for winning the tournament: “It’s a very good day for me, I won three games. That’s definitely very positive and it’s helping me come back after tough few months when I was trying to qualify for the Candidates and didn’t manage… it’s a boost of confidence.”.
Describing the approach in the game against Firouzja and the playoffs games, he added: “I decided to play a very normal game (against Firouzja) because I knew Firouzja would not back down from the fight. And actually, he tried very hard to win, as much as he could, and at some point, he did backfire badly. I was in a must win situation (against Wesley So) and I didn’t have any preparation as I was trying to recover from the exhausting game I played with Alireza, so I just figured things out at the board. The opening didn’t go well and at some point, there were some very scary moments, but I did find some tricks. In the end, I think it was the comedy of blunders but with such a complicated position and five seconds per move, it was bound to happen.“. Replay the playoffs games and the last round here (scroll down for the full article)
In the interview he gave before the start of the Grand Chess Tour Romania 2022, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave said he likes to play tennis when he has time, disclosing that he is a huge fan of Roger Federer. Being asked about three things he likes about chess mostly, Maxime answered: “In general, winning! Of course, winning feels great! (I like) fighting, there’s always a fight; and finding unexpected ideas that surprise my opponents. This is always a good feeling.“.