FTX Crypto Cup: the returns | ChessBase
Radjabov and So win the first sets
The FTX Crypto Cup managed to bring together the top ten highest-rated players in the world, with Ding Liren (world number 3) and Levon Aronian (5) failing even to qualify for the knockout stage. Moreover, those who have reached the single elimination stage face tough opponents from the start – most notably, Magnus Carlsen was paired against Hikaru Nakamura while Fabiano Caruana plays Ian Nepomniachtchi in the quarter-finals.
In the matches mentioned above, Carlsen and Caruana, the strongest players in the world according to the table, managed to save a draw in their first mini-matches by scoring on-demand wins in their last few matches. the day. Meanwhile, Teimour Radjabov and Wesley So won their first sets against Anish Giri and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave respectively.
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Nepomniachtchi 2 – 2 Caruana
The new challenger for the world championship faced the latest player to challenge Carlsen for the world crown. Nepomniachtchi started the day with a win, as he made the most of his pair of bishops with the white pieces.
After two draws, Caruana needed a win in Game 4. The American had the white pieces and reached an endgame turn a pawn at good.
As Karsten Müller noted in his analysis, placing the rook behind the passed pawn is not always the right decision. Nepo here faltered with 49 … Ra8, when 49 … a3 was the way to go to save the toss. Soon after, Caruana grabbed Black’s h-pawn and continued to win with her three passers-by connected.
In the replayable table below, note that Games 1 and 4 include insightful analysis from GM Müller, our in-house Endgame Specialist.
Select an entry from the list to switch between games
Nakamura 2 – 2 Carlsen
In what has become a major online chess rivalry, Nakamura and Carlsen played four decisive matches in the first set of their quarter-final match. The victory at the request of the world champion in Game 4 demonstrated his ability to turn a strategic advantage into a full point.
White got a good passer on file b by eliminating the temporarily passive knight on a5 (although that knight was ready to be transferred to c5 soon) with 23.Bxa5 bxa5. Carlsen continued to move forward with 24.d4, making the most of its initiative. The world champion would later abandon a trade en route to a much-needed victory.
So 3-1 Vachier-Lagrave
Previous experience has shown that when So is “in the zone” it is extremely difficult to face him in any weather control. The Filipino-born grandmaster beat MVL in Matches 3 and 4 on Wednesday after drawing the first two encounters – remarkably, he has not lost any of his 19 games so far in the tournament.
In Game 3, he defeated his French opponent on the black side of a Berlin defense.
Black already has the upper hand, but it must be precise in the conversion. So I spent almost 7 minutes (in a 15 minute game) on 22 … f5 – the first suggestion of the computer – and continued to show great technique until obtaining a remarkable victory of 34 moves.
Radjabov 2½ – 1½ Giri
Two previous Champions Chess Tour winners shot their first three matches, before Radjabov beat Giri on the white side in a materially balanced end to the game.
The Bishop proved stronger than the Knight in this ending with pawns on both sides of the board. In a classic game, it’s likely that Giri would have managed to put in more resistance, but under these circumstances he ended up resigning after 62 moves.