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Vachier-Lagrave Sole Leader Courtesy Of King And Knights

GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave played imaginatively to surge into the sole lead with 4.5 out of six points at the end of the second day of the 2023 Tata Steel Chess India Open Rapid. GM Teimour Radjabov was in the lead until he was outplayed by GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi in the final game of the day, enabling Vachier-Lagrave to take over. Radjabov remains in second place on four points.

Below the two leaders is a group of four players on three points: GMs Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu, Vidit, Alexander Grischuk, and Dommaraju Gukesh.

Intense fights were the order of the day, resulting in tightly-packed standings, with all the players entering into the final day with a theoretical chance of winning the title. 

First, sensing the necessity to defend the c4-pawn and in anticipation of the importance of an advanced king in the upcoming endgame, he played 20.Kd2! and 22.Kc3!

Here, emphasizing the inherent weakness of Black's pawns, he uncorked 23.Ng1! 24.Nh3! and 25.Nf4!, dominating the board.

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