FTX Crypto Cup: Players Criticized For Playing Theoretical Draws

FTX Crypto Cup: Players Criticized For Playing Theoretical Draws

| 114 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Magnus Carlsen and GM Wesley So tied their first match in the final of the FTX Crypto Cup with two theoretical draws and a win each. In the consolation final between GM Ian Nepomniachtchi and GM Teimour Radjabov, the players went for four quick, theoretical draws. On social media, several grandmasters expressed their disappointment.

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.

FXT Crypto Cup final results

Carlsen-So 2-2

It is already the third final between Carlsen and So in this Champions Chess Tour. The American player is going for a hattrick as he won both earlier finals, in the Skilling Open and the Opera Euro Rapid. (Carlsen did win the match for third place in the Magnus Carlsen Invitational against So.)

This time, the opening goal was scored by Carlsen, which was the first loss for So after staying undefeated for 29 games in this event. He must have underestimated Black's pressure on the kingside after his light squares were seriously weakened:

Carlsen then didn't really try with the white pieces as he chose a well-known line in the 5.Re1 Berlin that leads to dead equality. Remarkably, game four was not just the exact same variation; no, it was from A to Z a carbon copy of game two. There hardly has been a tournament in the history of chess with so many draws coming from players repeating the same theoretical openings variations over and over again. (More on that later!)

So's win came in game three. The players continued another theoretical discussion in the Italian, with the same line as in the first game which they had also played in the Opera Euro Rapid. It looks like Carlsen mixed up his moves because he quickly got into trouble. So finished it off nicely:

About drawing his fourth game the same way as the second, Carlsen commented: "I felt like s*** and I didn't want to play. I don't feel good today; hopefully, I'll feel better tomorrow. If you don't feel well, you should listen to your body."

Magnus Carlsen FTX Crypto
Carlsen gave the impression that he was a bit under the weather on the first day. Image: FTX Crypto Cup.

Nepomniachtchi-Radjabov 2-2

Yesterday Nepomniachtchi tweeted that he was "looking forward to witness the finals," which suggests that he might have forgotten about the fact that these tournaments also have matches for third place. The four non-games between him and Radjabov show that neither of them was motivated to play—four more quick draws in theoretical variations! As said, this tournament will go down in history as the one where some kind of dubious record was set.

Icelandic FM Ingvar Johannesson was quite critical in a YouTube video and on Twitter, GM Jorden van Foreest, GM Johan-Sebastian Christiansen, and GM Ivan Sokolov criticized the players:

Radjabov later joined the discussion but couldn't fix the "PR damage" right away:

All Games Day 8

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 2.1825 Bitcoin.

Previous reports:

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