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Carlsen Evokes Magnus Magic, Keymer Gets Revenge

Carlsen Evokes Magnus Magic, Keymer Gets Revenge

NM_Vanessa
| 11 | Chess Event Coverage

GMs Magnus Carlsen and Vincent Keymer prevailed in the Division I Winners Semifinals of the Champions Chess Tour Chess.com Classic 2024. Carlsen won with his uncanny ability to turn drawish positions into wins vs. GM Denis Lazavik. After losing to him OTB earlier in the day, Keymer defeated GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda with a game to spare.

In the Losers Bracket, GM Alireza Firouzja worked his own magic vs. GM Alexey Sarana. GM Ian Nepomniachtchi scored a 2-0 sweep vs. GM Velimir Ivic

GMs Levon Aronian, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Grigoriy Oparin, and Daniil Dubov are the Quarterfinal victors in the Winners Bracket of Division II.

In Division III, GMs Tuan Minh Le, Dmitry Andreikin, Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son, and Nils Grandelius advance to the Winners Semifinals.

Day five begins on Sunday, May 12, starting at 12:30 p.m. ET / 18:30 CEST / 10 p.m. IST. 

Division I Bracket


Division I Winners: Magnus Magic, Keymer's Vengeance

Semifinals - Match Scores

Carlsen and Lazavik faced each other for the third time in the CCT. Though Carlsen ultimately won again, his 17-year-old opponent kept the match incredibly close throughout. Carlsen himself shared: "He's a strong player. He's not easy to beat."

Carlsen's match-clinching victory turned out to be the very first game. In what seemed to be a completely drawn rook endgame, he activated Magnus Magic and took away the full point. 

Though the other three games were draws, the pinnacle of the match was game two. Carlsen sacrificed three pawns to fuel his king hunt. Yet, when he followed up inaccurately, Lazavik held on tenaciously to tame the wild game into an equal result. This combative duel is the our Game of the Day. Enjoy analysis by GM Rafael Leitao Game of the Day below.

After the match, Carlsen admitted: "The second game was a great shame. That could've been a rare attacking win of mine." 

That could've been a rare attacking win of mine.

―Magnus Carlsen

Check out more of Carlsen's thoughts about the game in the clip below.

Duda and Keymer had, in fact, already faced off earlier today at the Superbet Rapid & Blitz Poland, when Duda prevailed. Was Keymer ready for this immediate rematch? Or still licking his wounds? 

It turned out that Keymer was eager for vengeance. After a draw in game one, Keymer took over the lead in game two. When Duda's king marched forward in the endgame, Keymer's forces chased it into a mating net. 

When Duda tried for tactical play in game three, Keymer counter-struck, winning a knight. Duda fought on to the last seconds, but Keymer was able to convert with clarity in the time scramble. 

Carlsen and Keymer are the last two players remaining in the Winners Bracket. They will face in the Final on Sunday. Meanwhile, Lazavik and Duda will try to fight their way back in the Losers Bracket. 

Division I Losers: Firouzja Steals Win With Bullet Skills, Nepomniachtchi Sweeps Ivic

Losers Round 1 - Match Scores

The fate of Firouzja vs. Sarana was primarily decided in their first game. After Firouzja’s creative opening choice, Sarana countered in the middlegame with an attack on the light-squares. Sarana reached the endgame with an extra exchange, yet in the time scramble, the younger grandmaster showed what he's made of. Firouzja worked his magic to take over the game and pick apart Sarana’s position while gaining time on the clock. Commentator GM David Howell noted: “This is bullet skills 101.”

This is bullet skills 101.

―David Howell

Only needing a draw to seal the match, Firouzja held in game two with relative ease. Firouzja will face Lazavik next.

Though Nepomniachtchi swept vs. Ivic, the Serbian grandmaster had his chances. At the end of a fairly level game one, Nepomniachtchi discovered a tactical nuance that stole the full point. In game two, Nepomniachtchi went all-out for the attack. Yet, at the critical moment, Ivic could've struck first. Can you find how?

White to move and win.

Once Ivic missed his chance, Nepomniachtchi's army soon crashed through tactically. 

Nepomniachtchi and Duda will meet in round two of the Losers Bracket. 

Division II: Aronian's Tactical Finesse

Aronian started his match 2-0 vs. GM Dmitrij Kollars. First, he won a double-edged game one, unfazed by the enemy queen chasing his king across the board. In the second game, Aronian found a clever tactical finesse in the time scramble. 

Aronian will face Oparin in the Winners Semifinals.

Division II Bracket

You can find the full standings for Division II here

Division III: Nguyen Seals 3-0 With Endgame Tactics

Nguyen achieved a 3-0 sweep vs. GM Adam Kozak. He finished the match with a dash of tactics in the endgame.

Nguyen will play vs. Grandelius in the Semifinals. 

Division III Bracket

You can find the full standings for Division III 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:

NM_Vanessa
NM Vanessa West

Vanessa West is a National Master, a chess teacher, and a writer for Chess.com. In 2017, they won the Chess Journalist of the Year award.

You can follow them on X: Vanessa__West

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