News
Carlsen, Keymer, Duda Win After Doubling Up Tournaments In Poland
Polish number-one Duda continues in the Winners Bracket, debuting in Division I this year. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Carlsen, Keymer, Duda Win After Doubling Up Tournaments In Poland

AnthonyLevin
| 32 | Chess Event Coverage

GMs Magnus Carlsen and Vincent Keymer won their matches with a game to spare in Division I of the Champions Chess Tour Chess.com Classic 2024. GMs Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Denis Lazavik also won to continue in the Winners Bracket. Notably, Carlsen, Keymer, and Duda played in the Grand Chess Tour: Superbet Poland Rapid & Blitz 2024 before participating in this event online.

Eight players continue in the Winners Bracket of Division II. We will go over an imaginative fantasy line that was possible in GM Andrey Esipenko vs. GM Aleksandr Rakhmanov where the latter could have played with four pawns against a rook.

Likewise, Division III also has eight players still afloat in the Winners Bracket. GM David Paravyan had the biggest upset in round two as he sent GM Anish Giri to the Losers Bracket.

Day four begins on Saturday, May 11, starting at 12:30 p.m. ET / 18:30 CEST / 10 p.m. IST

Division I Bracket

 


The rest of the tournament will be the Division phase, which will feature a double-elimination bracket in all three divisions. Eight players participate in Division I, 16 in Division II, and 32 in Division III. Nobody's eliminated until Saturday. 

Division I: More Chess, More Success For Players In Poland

While the commentators initially predicted that playing in two tournaments might tire some players out, the opposite seemed to occur on Friday. All three players participating in the Grand Chess Tour arrived to their hotel rooms warmed up and in great form.

17-year-old Lazavik, who's playing in just one tournament this time around, upset world number-four GM Ian Nepomniachtchi, but this isn't his first rodeo. Lazavik was one of eight players to reach the CCT Live Finals in Toronto last year.

Division I Results 


Carlsen's first day at the Chess.com Classic was a quick day at the office. He defeated GM Velimir Ivic, who beat two super-GMs the previous day, with a game to spare.

Although the first game was a one-sided victory for the world number-one, Ivic had a close-to-winning advantage in the second. But his decision to trade into the endgame was objectively a mistake, and opting to tussle with the greatest endgame player of all time may have been a practical mistake too.

With a pawn for the exchange, Carlsen outplayed his opponent in an endgame that didn't stay equal for long—a phrase this author has written more times than he can count.

Keymer had a dominant performance against GM Alexey Sarana and was the only other player in this division to wrap up in three games. The first game showed the danger of playing with less space, as Black's pieces stepped on each other's toes. White found a nice queen trap to take advantage of this fact.

Next we look at Duda vs. GM Alireza Firouzja, the third match won by a player fighting in his second tournament. Although Duda only won in the armageddon, the fifth game, he said: "I think I played actually much better than him today and it probably should have been three games, to be honest."

...  it probably should have been three games, to be honest.

—Jan-Krzysztof Duda

Indeed, he had an extra pawn in game three but Firouzja slipped away with a draw. In game four, the French number-one found a beautiful tactic to immediately force resignation, and to force armageddon.

Fortunately for the Polish number-one, he pulled himself together in the tiebreak, with an on-demand win with White. GM Rafael Leitao explains Game of the Day below.

Duda explained his inventive exchange sacrifice after the game: "His rook is kind of passive. I mean, I am blocking the f-line of course. And he doesn't have any play... it's also a cool thing to do, but that was not the most important." A cool thing got him a cool win, and you can listen to Duda's thoughts below:

Nepomniachtchi was too ambitious with Black in the first game against Lazavik. After pushing his kingside pawns in the opening, his king was stranded in the center and he lost in 25 moves.

Although he struck back in game two with an incredible endgame grind, a wild pawn race in game three decided the match. There were many brilliant moves and defenses missed by the players, who were navigating this with about a minute on the clock. The wonkiest fantasy line may have been on move 58, when Black could have held an endgame with the two minor pieces against a queen.

In the Winners Bracket, Lazavik will take on Carlsen next, and Duda will play Keymer. We will see in both matches whether playing over the board continues to have a positive effect for players online.

Division II: Incredible Endgame Opportunity Overlooked

Esipenko lost his first game against Rakhmanov, but after a draw he won the last two games of the match. Game three could have featured an endgame imbalance you almost never see, where Black could have drawn the game by reaching a position with four pawns for a rook.

You can check out the full game below, as well as my notes on why exactly the above position is a draw:

Although they were knocked out of playing in Division I the previous day, we can see that super-GMs Levon Aronian, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, and Daniil Dubov are alive and well in the Winners Bracket.

Division II Bracket

You can find the full standings for Division II Placement here

Division III: Paravyan Outplays Giri In Rook Endgame

Paravyan lost his first game against Giri, but struck back in game two. After two draws, he ultimately won the armageddon game with Black.

But we'll rewind to game two, where the lower-rated player outplayed his super-GM opponent in an "equal" rook endgame. 40.g4!? posed questions that the Dutch number-one wasn't equipped to answer—with about one minute against five. 46.e6!, 47.Rg5!, and 48.Ke5 are nice, thematic moves to write down and remember.

Division III Bracket

You can find the full standings for Division III Placement here

How to watch?
You can watch the 2024 Chess.com Classic on Chess.com/TV. You can also enjoy the show on our Twitch channel and catch all our live broadcasts on YouTube.com. Games from the event can be viewed on our events page.

The live broadcast was hosted by GM David Howell and IM Tania Sachdev.

The 2024 Chess.com Classic is the second of the Champions Chess Tour's four events and determines one of the players who'll make it to the in-person CCT Finals. The event starts on May 8 at 12:30 p.m. ET/18:30 CEST/10 p.m. IST and features a $300,000 prize fund.


Previous coverage:

AnthonyLevin
NM Anthony Levin

NM Anthony Levin caught the chess bug at the "late" age of 18 and never turned back. He earned his national master title in 2021, actually the night before his first day of work at Chess.com.

Anthony, who also earned his Master's in teaching English in 2018, taught English and chess in New York schools for five years and strives to make chess content accessible and enjoyable for people of all ages. At Chess.com, he writes news articles and manages social media for chess24.

Email:  anthony.levin@chess.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/anthony.seikei/ 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/alevinchess

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/anthonylevinchess/

More from NM AnthonyLevin
5 Things We Learned — Chess.com Classic 2024

5 Things We Learned — Chess.com Classic 2024

Firouzja Beats Carlsen Twice In Grand Final, Wins 2024 Chess.com Classic

Firouzja Beats Carlsen Twice In Grand Final, Wins 2024 Chess.com Classic