Carlsen, Praggnanandhaa Still Perfect –

Carlsen, Praggnanandhaa Still Perfect -


GMs Magnus Carlsen and GM Praggnanandhaa R. are in a tie for first place at the FTX Crypto Cup with the maximum score of six points after two days of play. GM Levon Aronian is in second place with five points, ahead of GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda with four.

FTX Crypto Cup

Carlsen-Niemann 3-1

Carlsen’s match with GM Hans Niemann actually started with a crushing victory for the young American player. After this excellent first win, Niemann stopped briefly for an interviewer outside the playing hall, saying: “The chess speaks for itself!” He then walked away as the follow-up question was being asked.

On Tuesday, Niemann had given a furious interview using the f-word several times live on camera following the laptop debacle with Duda. One viewer in the official broadcast described Niemann as “the Nick Kyrgios of chess.”

Carlsen leveled the score immediately with a fine, technical win but in the third game, he again didn’t get a good position out of the opening, where he used 1.a3. He won anyway:

Carlsen also won the fourth game, and said: “I didn’t play so great, but I’m very happy with the fact I came back.”

Magnus Carlsen FTX Crypto Cup
Carlsen: “I’m very happy with the fact I came back.” Image: Champions Chess Tour.

Praggnanandhaa-Giri 2.5-1.5

Praggnanandhaa followed suit as the only other player to win both of his first two matches without needing a tiebreak. The 17-year-old GM from Chennai drew his first three games with GM Anish Giri and then scored a decisive win.

Like Carlsen, Pragg was self-critical, saying: “I think I didn’t play so well in this match. I would just like to play better chess.”

Although his chess was still good enough to beat another top grandmaster, according to Pragg, he was not doing well in the first game and missed a win in the third when Giri blundered in the last one:

Aronian-Duda 3.5-2.5

Aronian is in second place on five points because he defeated Duda “only” in the blitz tiebreak, which yields two match points instead of three. Aronian won the second blitz game:

Firouzja-Le 2.5-0.5

After a draw in their first game, GM Alireza Firouzja defeated GM Le Quang Liem two times in a row, and that meant the match was over. Game two was a remarkably short affair and White, who is supposed to be slightly better in the endgame, was in trouble after an early mistake:

Alireza Firouzja France
A smooth win vs. Le for Firouzja. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

All games round 2

FTX Crypto Cup | Round 2 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Pts
1-2 Magnus Carlsen 2822 6
1-2 Praggnanandhaa R. 2751 6
3 Levon Aronian 2793 5
4 Jan-Krzyztof Duda 2792 4
5 Alireza Firouzja 2793 3
6-8 Le Quang Liem 2775 0
6-8 Anish Giri 2783 0
6-8 Hans Niemann 2615 0

The FTX Crypto Cup, the sixth event in the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, takes place August 15-21, 2022 on chess24. The format is a round-robin among eight players, who play a match of four rapid games (15+10) in each round. The winner earns $7,500 and three points. In the case of a tie, a two-game blitz tiebreak is played (5+3), followed by an armageddon game (5 vs. 4). In that case, the winner earns $5,000 and two points; the loser, $2,500 and one point. The prize fund is $210,000 plus an additional $100,000 tied to the price of Bitcoin.

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