Chessable Masters: Lazavik beats Nakamura and Giri

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
2/2/2024 – The pairings of the knockout phase in all three divisions of the Chessable Masters were set up after an exciting day of online-chess action. Most notably, 17-year-old Denis Lazavik defeated Hikaru Nakamura and Anish Giri to reach Division I, while knocking his elite opponents down to Division II. Lazavik will face Maxime Vachier-Lagrave on Friday, while perennial favourite Magnus Carlsen will face the ever-dangerous Wesley So. | Photo: / Thomas Tischio

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Division I: Lazavik in, Naka and Giri out

Three players rated below 2700 will be among the eight quarter-finalists in Division I of the Chessable Masters. Besides Vladimir Fedoseev, who qualified by winning Division II of last year’s AI Cup, Jose Martinez and Denis Lazavik reached the top group of the event by making the most of their chances in Thursday’s ‘placement’ matches.

After winning the Play-In on his birthday, Martinez defeated Samvel Ter-Sahakyan to qualify to the Division I knockout, while Lazavik impressively got the better of Hikaru Nakamura and Anish Giri to get his spot.

At 17, Lazavik has become a well-known name in the online-chess world. Last year, the youngster even made it to the Champions Chess Tour Finals (find here instructive analysis of one of his games against Magnus Carlsen by GM Efstratios Grivas). And he has now again made a big impression in the first event of this year’s tour.

In the very first game of the day, Lazavik saw Nakamura mixing up his preparation early on, getting a massive advantage as early as on move 13.

13...Nb3 attacks the rook while creating a discovered attack against the weak f2-square. After 14.0-0 Rxa1, Black simply emerged a rook up. Nakamura tried to complicate matters, but Lazavik safely converted his advantage into a win.

Game 2 saw Nakamura trying to get a double-edged position with black in a must-win situation. Lazavik made the most of his opponent’s risky approach and coolly grabbed a second victory to advance to round 2 of the Division I Placement phase.

Wesley So, Alireza Firouzja, Rauf Mamedov and Samvel Ter-Sahakyan also advanced to the second round in this group.

Chessable Masters 2024

In the second round, Martinez and Lazavik got the better of Ter-Sahakyan and Giri, as mentioned above. So, Firouzja and Ian Nepomniachtchi also won their 4-game matches to qualify to the Division I knockout.

The most exciting pairing in the quarter-finals is Carlsen v. So, a rematch of the 2023 final confrontation at the in-person Toronto event in December. Back then, Carlsen defeated So in a hard-fought contest.

Chessable Masters 2024

Division I pairings

Chessable Masters 2024

Keymer 0 - 1 So

Analysis by GM Karsten Müller

All games - Division I placement

Division II: Favourites prevail

Most favourites advanced in this division, with Levon Aronian getting the clearest victory in the second round, as he defeated Igor Lysyj three times in a row.

Chessable Masters 2024

Chessable Masters 2024

Division II pairings

Chessable Masters 2024

Aronian 1 - 0 Lysyj

Analysis by GM Karsten Müller

All games - Division II placement

Division III: Vidit eliminated

Strong players such as Daniil Dubov or Bogdan-Daniel Deac had to gain a spot in the Division III knockout, which goes to show how many elite GMs participate in these online events.

Moreover, world number 14 Vidit Gujrathi was eliminated by Amin Tabatabaei.

All games - Division III placement

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Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.
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