Maxime Vachier-Lagrave has pulled off the mission impossible of beating Magnus Carlsen in not one, but two matches, to win the AI Cup and qualify for the Champions Chess Tour Finals in Toronto. That meant heartbreak for Vladimir Fedoseev, whose victory over Vladislav Artemiev in the Division II Grand Final would have meant a spot in Toronto if not for MVL's heroics.
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave was again in sparkling form as he defeated Ian Nepomniachtchi 2:0 to earn another shot at Magnus Carlsen in Friday's AI Cup Grand Final. Nepomniachtchi had earlier knocked out Anish Giri 1.5:0.5. Vladimir Fedoseev kept his dream of reaching the Toronto Finals alive as he beat Vladislav Artemiev in the Division II Winners Final, but he'll now face the same opponent again in the Grand Final.
"This is the sort of thing that happens when you play Sicilians in every game," said Magnus Carlsen after his match against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave was decided only in Armageddon. In Friday's Grand Final he'll either face Maxime again, or take on Anish Giri, who followed a 2-0 sweep of Hikaru Nakamura by doing the same to Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, or Ian Nepomniachtchi, who hit back to defeat Alireza Firouzja in Armageddon.
Magnus Carlsen and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave are the last two players standing in the Winners Bracket of the AI Cup, despite Ian Nepomniachtchi coming within inches of forcing a playoff vs. Carlsen. MVL overcame Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in the other semifinal, while in the Losers Bracket Anish Giri launched fireworks on the board to knock out Hikaru Nakamura, and Alireza Firouzja eliminated Denis Lazavik.
Just like in 2019, Ian Nepomniachtchi won the Levitov Chess Week in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. With the two-time World Championship challenger scoring 3/4 on the final day, Peter Svidler couldn't keep the pace and eventually tied for second with Levon Aronian.
Ian Nepomniachtchi is congratulated with another tournament victory in Amsterdam | photo: Lennart Ootes, Levitov Chess Week
Magnus Carlsen, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov advanced in Division I of the AI Cup after winning their quarterfinal matches on Day 1. Magnus defeated Hikaru in just three games, with Nepo also wrapping up a quick win against Anish Giri. MVL won the French battle against Alireza Firouzja, while Mamedyarov took down Denis Lazavik in Armageddon.
After some twists and turns, Ian Nepomniachtchi and Peter Svidler are still topping the Levitov Chess Week leaderboard. With four rounds to go, it has become a two-horse race as their closest rivals, Levon Aronian and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, are two points behind.
A shot from the playing hall on Day 3 | photo: Lennart Ootes, Levitov Chess Week
Ian Nepomniachtchi and Peter Svidler are the new leaders of the Levitov Chess Week after nine rounds. They're tied on six points, half a point above Viswanathan Anand and Levon Aronian. The tournament will continue on Monday, September 25.
Ian Nepomniachtchi scored 4/4 on the second day | photo: Lennart Ootes, Levitov Chess Week
Magnus Carlsen has won his 3rd Speed Chess Championship title after defeating Hikaru Nakamura 13.5-12.5. Carlsen got off to a strong start, but Nakamura fought to take a 3-point lead in the 3+1 portion. Magnus changed shirts and hit back before taking over in bullet, but in the end it came down to a final game. Hikaru was on the verge of winning to tie the score, but allowed an unforgettable double rook sacrifice that sealed the deal.
Carlsen expresses utter joy just seconds after drawing the final game