GMs Magnus Carlsen and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave are set to face off in the Winners Bracket final of the 2023 AI Cup. Carlsen narrowly avoided defeat in his match against GM Ian Nepomniachtchi, thanks to some clever stalemate tricks. Meanwhile, Vachier-Lagrave’s dynamic awareness helped him overcome GM Shakriyar Mamedyarov’s aggressive attempts.
In the Losers Bracket, GM Anish Giri knocked out GM Hikaru Nakamura with some spectacular fireworks on the board. On the other hand, GM Alireza Firouzja found strategic clarity to eliminate GM Denis Lazavik. Over in Division II, GM Alexey Sarana caused a major upset by defeating GM Fabiano Caruana. In Division III, GMs Evgeny Alekseev and Rauf Mamedov defeated their younger opponents to reach the Winners Final.
The knockout tournament will continue on Wednesday, September 26, with the highly anticipated match between Carlsen and Vachier-Lagrave. Both players have different playing styles, with Carlsen being known for his pragmatic and universal approach, while Vachier-Lagrave is a more calculated and balanced player.
In the Losers Bracket matches, Nakamura suffered a defeat at the hands of Giri, who showcased precision in his opening preparation and understanding of various positions. Firouzja emerged victorious against Lazavik, despite admitting that his opponent had performed better on the day.
The AI Cup has provided some thrilling matches so far, with players showcasing their attacking prowess and strategic thinking. The final rounds are sure to be a thrilling affair, as the remaining players battle it out for the championship title.