Carlsen, Praggnanandhaa Storm On As Niemann’s Suffering Continues

Carlsen, Praggnanandhaa Storm On As Niemann's Suffering Continues


Also on the fourth day of play at the FTX Crypto Cup in Miami, GMs Magnus Carlsen and Praggnanandhaa R. won their matches without needing a tiebreak. The duo is now four points ahead of GM Alireza Firouzja, who is on eight points, followed by GM Levon Aronian on five points. GM Hans Niemann is suffering, with four match losses in a row.

FTX Crypto Cup

Carlsen-Le 3-1

It wasn’t an easy day for Carlsen, who started his match with GM Le Quang Liem with two draws. In the third game, he went for an interesting piece trade for three pawns, but instead, Le gave an exchange back. After missing some chances, Carlsen won anyway with a tactic at the end.

“I thought I had sort of tricked him when I sac’ed the exchange there,” he said. “I thought my pawns were just running. Then he dug in, he found a defense and I couldn’t really see a way to break through, so I went for what was kind of my last trick.”

Carlsen called it “a super complicated and weird position” and said: “I’m trying to play complicated chess, but it’s tiring!”

Also in game four, he outwitted his opponent tactically:

Magnus Carlsen FTX Crypto Cup
Carlsen: “I’m trying to play complicated chess, but it’s tiring!” Image: Champions Chess Tour.

Praggnanandhaa-Aronian 3-1

Praggnanandhaa continues to score impressively in this tournament as he keeps the pace with Carlsen, winning four matches. The young Indian GM put things into perspective when he said: “To be honest, I think I got some lucky wins here and there.”

Nonetheless, he scored a convincing match win against none other than Aronian, who did suffer from a lack of energy. “I had a bad sleep, so I was very tired today actually. In the last moments, it removes the concentration,” he said.

After allowing his queen to be trapped in game three, Aronian indeed seemed to be missing concentration when he went for his 42nd move in game four.

Praggnanandhaa FTX Crypto Cup Aronian
Praggnanandhaa on performing so well in faster time controls: “I think I am kind of underrated in classical. I think if I play more tournaments I’ll get more rating.” Image: Champions Chess Tour.

Firouzja-Duda 2.5-1.5

Firouzja won both of his white games but lost the second game in between. Leading 2-1, he then held game four to a draw to clinch the match. Here’s the first game, which saw a complicated rook endgame where GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda had a rather difficult but instructive way to hold the draw:

Giri-Niemann 2.5-1.5

On a day without tiebreaks, GM Anish Giri won his first match in the tournament, thus inflicting the fourth consecutive loss upon Niemann. The young American keeps on giving remarkable interviews, such as after he won game three:

“I’m just absolutely miserable. The fact that that happened is just a miracle, a complete miracle. The fact that I have not already gone to the minibar and pulled a Magnus, the fact that I haven’t jumped in the pool, the fact that I am alive at this moment is a miracle because after I lost this first game I think I was just ready to go into the ocean and never come back.”

Asked about the speed at which he played the game, he said: “I wanted to lose as quickly as possible so I could go back to my hotel room and turn all the lights off, order some delivery, and watch Netlix and numb the pain until the next game,” adding that he had already spent over a thousand dollars on Uber Eats.

At this point the match was tied because Giri had won a good first game. The Dutchman then won the fourth game as well, saying: “I was a bit frustrated that I had such an overwhelming position and I wasn’t able to convert it smoothly, but of course I’m happy with the result. I’m very thrilled to have won the match, also without the tiebreak.”

Anish Giri T-shirt chess
Anish Giri scored his first match win. Image: Champions Chess Tour.

All games round 4

FTX Crypto Cup | Round 4 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Pts
1-2 Magnus Carlsen 2822 12
1-2 Praggnanandhaa R. 2751 12
3 Alireza Firouzja 2793 8
4 Levon Aronian 2793 5
5-6 Jan-Krzyztof Duda 2792 4
5-6 Anish Giri 2783 4
7 Le Quang Liem 2775 3
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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