Magnus Carlsen, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov have advanced in the Division I Winners Bracket of the 2023 AI Cup after winning their quarterfinal matches on day one. The matches featured some exciting moments and intense competition.
In the match between Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura, Carlsen emerged victorious in just three games. This rivalry between Carlsen and Nakamura has been ongoing, with each player claiming victories over the other in different tournaments. In their latest encounter, Carlsen showed his dominance by defeating Nakamura.
Nepomniachtchi also needed only three games to triumph over Anish Giri. The two players are closely ranked on the live rating list, making their match highly anticipated. Nepomniachtchi’s aggressive play and fast-paced style helped him secure the win.
Vachier-Lagrave took on his compatriot Alireza Firouzja and emerged victorious with a score of 3-1. This matchup was significant as Vachier-Lagrave was the top-ranked French player until Firouzja’s transfer to France in 2021.
Mamedyarov won the intergenerational battle against Denis Lazavik. With Mamedyarov being more than double Lazavik’s age, the match was expected to showcase different playing styles. Mamedyarov’s aggressive play and tactical sacrifices helped him secure the win.
In Division II, eight players advanced to the Winners Quarterfinals. The match between Jan-Krzystztof Duda and Hans Niemann was particularly hard-fought, with Duda ultimately emerging as the winner.
In Division III, 32 competitors were narrowed down to eight in the Winners Quarterfinals. GM Jose Martinez beat GM Vladimir Kramnik with a poisoned pawn trap, showcasing his strategic skills.
The knockout tournament continues on Tuesday, September 25, with the top contenders vying for qualification spots in the upcoming in-person Finals. With only one qualification spot remaining, players like Nepomniachtchi, Mamedyarov, Vachier-Lagrave, and Giri have a chance to secure their place.
The Champions Chess Tour 2023 is the biggest online tournament of the year, with a prize fund of $2,000,000 and the best players in the world competing. The CCT consists of six events throughout the year and culminates in live in-person Finals. The intense competition and high stakes make it a must-watch for chess enthusiasts.