Carlsen, Praggnanandhaa Lead As FTX Crypto Cup Sees 1st Armageddon
Magnus Carlsen, interviewed after beating Levon Aronian. Image: Champions Chess Tour.

Carlsen, Praggnanandhaa Lead As FTX Crypto Cup Sees 1st Armageddon

| 14 | Chess Event Coverage

GMs Magnus Carlsen and GM Praggnanandhaa R. continue to lead the FTX Crypto Cup in Miami, now with the maximum score of nine points after three days of play. In second place, four points behind, are GM Levon Aronian and GM Alireza Firouzja. The latter defeated GM Anish Giri in the armageddon game of their tiebreak.

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The games of the FTX Crypto Cup can be found here as part of our live events platform.

FTX Crypto Cup

Carlsen-Aronian 2.5-1.5

Carlsen struck immediately in the first game of this match, winning as Black with an early ...b5 against the London System. Aronian's decisive mistakes came much later though:

With three fighting draws, Carlsen held on to his lead, but it required hard work. After the match, he said: "Truth be told, I feel like I escaped more than I just crushed him today. But it was a lot of fun. It was a very, very interesting, very very tense match, and the result is great."

Praggnanandhaa-Niemann 2.5-1.5

Praggnanandhaa, the other leader of the tournament, started his match with GM Hans Niemann the same as Carlsen did the other day: with a loss in a Rossolimo Sicilian. This time playing the white pieces, Niemann won a pawn and then played an excellent, technical endgame. Beautiful stuff, where the chess spoke for itself:

Praggnanandhaa struck back immediately with a win in a well-known endgame arising from the Queen's Gambit Declined, Exchange Variation. After a draw, Niemann tried it again in game four and also lost that one:

Hans Niemann chess
Hans Niemann is now the only player still on zero points. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Firouzja-Giri 4.5-3.5

The match between Firouzja and Giri was the first in the tournament to go all the way to armageddon. Not only were the players still tied after the rapid and the blitz, but they actually drew all six games until then.

Having been under pressure for most of the armageddon game (getting four minutes on the clock vs. five, but needing only a draw), Giri at one point collapsed completely. He did get one point in the standings for making it to the tiebreak:

Le-Duda 2.5-0.5

Having discussed the longest match of the day, we now arrive at the shortest one. GM Le Quang Liem needed just three games to secure victory against GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda with two wins in a row, followed by a draw.

The first game must have been truly disappointing for Duda, who was a pawn up with zero(?) losing chances but eventually overpressed while Le used most of his tactical chances in a super-complicated final phase:

Le Quang Liem Chess
Le Quang Liem clearly has had the strongest nerves. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

All games round 3

FTX Crypto Cup | Round 3 Standings

# Fed Name Rtg Pts
1-2 Magnus Carlsen 2822 9
1-2 Praggnanandhaa R. 2751 9
3-4 Levon Aronian 2793 5
3-4 Alireza Firouzja 2793 5
5 Jan-Krzyztof Duda 2792 4
6 Le Quang Liem 2775 3
7 Anish Giri 2783 1
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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