Firouzja Sets Up Grand Final Vs. Carlsen After Eliminating Duda, Keymer

Firouzja Sets Up Grand Final Vs. Carlsen After Eliminating Duda, Keymer

| 21 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Alireza Firouzja eliminated GMs Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Vincent Keymer to reach the Champions Chess Tour Classic 2024 Division I Grand Final. On Wednesday, he will take on GM Magnus Carlsen.

GM Wesley So lost his very first match in Division II, but he's made it back, through the Losers Bracket, to face GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the Grand Final.

In Division III, GM Nils Grandelius lost in the Winners Final against GM Dmitry Andreikin, but he went through GM Karthikeyan Murali in the Losers Final to earn a rematch in the Grand Final. 

Day seven begins on Tuesday, May 14, starting at 12:30 p.m. ET / 18:30 CEST / 10 p.m. IST. 

Division I Bracket

Division I Losers Semifinals & Final: Firouzja Moves On Without A Hitch

Monday was all Firouzja, who convincingly defeated Duda before knocking out Keymer with a clean 2-0 sweep.

Losers Semifinals & Final - Match Scores

Duda, who was traveling back home from the Grand Chess Tour event in Warsaw, arrived late for game one and received a time penalty of six and a half minutes—a factor that played an important, if not decisive, role in the match.

By the time the opening moves were finished, he had just over two minutes left, but he still went on to outplay Firouzja. The game ended suddenly, however, when Duda blundered a rook with one second left.

"It was a very bad game by me," said Firouzja at the end of the day. "I was worse the whole game until the last move that he gave me the rook." But a point is a point, and Firouzja was off to an excellent start.

I was worse the whole game until the last move that he gave me the rook.

—Alireza Firouzja

Duda didn't make any headway in the second game, which was a long and equal rook endgame that ended in a draw. Firouzja won the match 1.5-0.5.

Next, Firouzja met Keymer in the Losers Final for the first time in rapid chess. That's right: surprisingly, for two top players, they'd never played a rapid game before.

Firouzja's victory in game one carried him through in the second game, where Keymer only lost due to his desperation to win on demand. In the first game, Firouzja returned to the same 2.b3 he employed against GM Ian Nepomniachtchi in the 2024 FIDE Candidates Tournament. With 5.Nc3, he left the beaten path and introduced his own spin on the opening.

GM Rafael Leitao presents the game of the Day below.

Firouzja plays the final boss in the Grand Final. Because Carlsen is the only player not to lose a match yet, he will have two lives in their match, while Firouzja will only have one.

The favorite isn't in question, as Firouzja said: "Of course it's a very big advantage for Magnus." So what's the plan? "I have to prepare a lot of openings and try to stay sharp, have to not get too away from chess."

Of course it's a very big advantage for Magnus.

—Alireza Firouzja

Chess aside, GM David Howell asked Firouzja the important question. Armani or Gucci? Firouzja, who is sometimes referred to as "Guccireza," answered: Armani. You can listen to the full interview below:

Duda makes $12,500 and 50 tour points, while Keymer earns $15,000 and 60 tour points for his efforts. To say that Carlsen is a "likely" winner is an understatement, as you can see from our prediction model below, but the double-upset has been pulled off once before, by Vachier-Lagrave.

Division II: So Returns From The Dead

The caliber of players in the Losers Bracket of Division II speaks to the through-the-ceiling strength of this tournament. Taken on its own, it would make for a strong super-tournament.

After losing his first match, So has been on a roll ever since. His 2-0 sweep against Grigoriy Oparin in the Losers Final ensured him a spot in the Grand Final on Tuesday. In the first game, a tactical skirmish with many pieces hanging left him with two minor pieces for a rook:

He will still have to defeat Vachier-Lagrave two times if he's to win the event. By the way, the winner of Division II is important. Besides the $15,000 prize, the winner also gets automatic entry into Division I of the next event, which comes with another $7,500 minimum.

Division II Bracket

You can find the full standings for Division II here

Division III: Grandelius Back For Rematch With Andreikin

Like So, Grandelius will have a second shot at the title, but he'll have to defeat Andreikin two times in the Grand Final.

Grandelius had an advantage with the black pieces against Karthikeyan, but one slip allowed the younger grandmaster to escape. He made up for it in the second and final game, where he made decisive use of an outside passed pawn.

Will Andreikin hold onto his undefeated record in the Classic, or will Grandelius complete the redemption arc? We will find out on Tuesday.

Division III Bracket

You can find the full standings for Division III here

How to watch?
You can watch the 2024 Classic on You can also enjoy the show on our Twitch channel and catch all our live broadcasts on 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 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 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

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, he writes news articles and manages social media for chess24.





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