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2021-06-02

Another modest 3/5 score on day three of the FTX Crypto Cup was enough for GM Magnus Carlsen to make it to the knockout stage, which starts on Wednesday. World Championship contender GM Ian Nepomniachtchi also just made it, while GM Fabiano Caruana finished in clear first place in the preliminaries with an excellent 10/15 total score.

How to watch?

The games of the FTX Crypto Cup can be found here as part of our live events platform. IM Levy Rozman and IM Anna Rudolf are providing daily commentary on GM Hikaru Nakamura’s Twitch channel starting at 8:00 a.m. Pacific / 17:00 Central Europe.

FTX Crypto Cup results

FTX Crypto Cup | Preliminaries, Final Standings

#

Fed

Name

Rtg

Perf

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

Pts

1

Caruana

2820

2879

1

?

?

?

?

?

1

?

0

?

1

?

1

1

1

10.0/15

2

Giri

2780

2832

0

?

?

?

?

1

?

?

?

1

0

1

?

1

1

9.0/15

3

Nakamura

2736

2835

?

?

?

?

?

?

1

?

1

0

1

?

?

?

1

9.0/15

4

Vachier-Lagrave

2760

2833

?

?

?

?

1

?

1

?

0

?

?

?

?

1

1

9.0/15

5

So

2770

2833

?

?

?

?

?

?

?

?

?

?

?

?

1

1

1

9.0/15

6

Carlsen

2847

2805

?

?

?

0

?

1

?

0

1

?

?

?

1

1

?

8.5/15

7

Radjabov

2765

2809

?

0

?

?

?

0

1

?

?

?

1

1

?

?

1

8.5/15

8

Nepomniachtchi

2792

2785

0

?

0

0

?

?

0

1

?

?

?

1

1

1

1

8.0/15

9

Aronian

2781

2785

?

?

?

?

?

1

?

0

0

1

0

?

?

1

1

8.0/15

10

Mamedyarov

2770

2763

1

?

0

1

?

0

?

?

1

0

?

?

0

?

1

7.5/15

11

Firouzja

2759

2741

?

0

1

?

?

?

?

?

0

1

?

?

1

0

0

7.0/15

12

Svidler

2714

2743

0

1

0

?

?

?

0

?

1

?

?

?

?

0

1

7.0/15

13

Ding

2799

2738

?

0

?

?

?

?

0

0

?

?

?

?

?

1

1

7.0/15

14

Dubov

2710

2697

0

?

?

?

0

0

?

0

?

1

0

?

?

?

1

6.0/15

15

Grischuk

2776

2642

0

0

?

0

0

0

?

0

0

?

1

1

0

?

1

5.0/15

16

Pichot

2630

2391

0

0

0

0

0

?

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

1.5/15

The quarterfinals will include yet another clash between Carlsen and GM Hikaru Nakamura, a repeat of several of such online matchups since the start of the pandemic. It was, for example, the final of the previous leg, won by Carlsen, in the Champions Chess Tour.

The two also faced each other in round 11, the opening round of the third day of the preliminaries. Carlsen was on a mission, having to avoid early elimination. He reached a winning position but spoiled it as Nakamura showed tremendous fighting spirit:

Three more draws followed for Carlsen, which meant there was still a chance he would miss out on the knockout phase!that would be a first since the inception of “his” online tournaments. However, with a fine, technical win against GM Teimour Radjabov, the world champion made sure that nightmare scenario was avoided.

The way Nepomniachtchi ended up qualifying for the final eight was arguably even more dramatic. Sitting on a disappointing 50-percent score, the Russian GM needed a win when his opponent GM Alexander Grischuk “teased” him with a variation in the Grunfeld that leads either to a quick repetition (as in Grischuk-Nepomniachtchi, Beijing 2014!) or with Black having to take risks.

Nepo obviously avoided the draw, got into trouble but ended up winning anyway, thereby eliminating GM Levon Aronian in the process.

Calculated. #ChessChamps #FTXCryptoCup

! Yan Nepomniachtchi (@lachesisq) May 25, 2021

While Nepomniachtchi’s tweet was tongue in cheek, the word “calculated” definitely applies in the tournament for some other players. More than ever, we got to see quick, theoretical draws end in move repetitions as players were securing their places among the top eight.

For instance, after winning his first two rounds against Grischuk and GM Daniil Dubov, U.S. Champion GM Wesley So drew 12 of his remaining 13 games, eight(!) with theoretical move repetitions. It should be noted that some of these were with the black pieces and, as always, it takes two to tango.

Such a strategy is completely according to the regulations, and one can never blame an individual player for choosing the path that leads to the main goal (reaching the knockout), but it won’t come as a complete surprise if the organizers will try to ban such approaches in the future.

Wesley So quick draws

Several players chose to play theoretical draws; Wesley So was involved in eight. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

GM Alan Pichot, who finished his tournament with eight straight losses, served as cannon fodder also for So. The Argentinian GM came up with lots of interesting opening ideas but came short in the actual chess:

Caruana himself is probably somewhat surprised with such an excellent result on the first three days. The world number-two hasn’t been too successful in all these online events, but 10/15 with just one loss is great. On the final day, one of his wins came after a huge oversight by Grischuk:

Unfortunately for GM Alireza Firouzja’s many fans, we won’t see more of him in this event. He showed some good chess on the third day with wins against both Nakamura and Dubov. Against the latter, there was some tactical magic:

Alireza Firouzja

Alireza Firouzja. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

All Games Day 3

The FTX Crypto Cup runs May 23-31 on chess24. The preliminary phase was a 16-player rapid (15|10) round-robin. The top eight players have advanced to a six-day knockout that consists of two days of four-game rapid matches, which advance to blitz (5|3) and armageddon (White has five minutes, Black four with no increment) tiebreaks only if a knockout match is tied after the second day. The prize fund is $220,000 with a bonus of 2.18 Bitcoin.

Previous reports:

FTX Crypto Cup: Caruana Jumps To 1st, Carlsen Still Struggling

FTX Crypto Cup: Giri Leads, ‘Awful’ Start For Carlsen

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