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HomeSportsCarlsen Increases Lead Before Facing Praggnanandhaa In Final Round

Carlsen Increases Lead Before Facing Praggnanandhaa In Final Round

GM Magnus Carlsen increased his lead in the FTX Crypto Cup to two points on Saturday thanks to beating GM Alireza Firouzja in the tiebreaker. The leader will face the number two in the final round on Sunday: Praggnanandhaa R., who lost to GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda.

Carlsen-Firouzja 3.5-2.5

This clash started with a bang, as both players won their white game in quite crushing style. Firouzja’s win, where he used a nice rook maneuver against an off-beat line from Carlsen, was especially nice. While totally outplayed, Carlsen kept smiling and, as it turned out, was listening to Norwegian comedy on his earphones during the match.

With two draws, things calmed down as the players moved on to a blitz tiebreak. Carlsen won the first game fairly smoothly, but the second game was very different. “I was under pressure all the time,” Carlsen said. “I feel like I’ve had the same thing against him a few times in Norway Chess, that it’s just getting completely out of hand. At one point I was just lost to death, but you know, you fight to the end!”

Duda-Praggnananandhaa 4-2

With Praggnanandhaa losing, Carlsen’s lead is now two points, meaning the world champion will secure the tournament win if he makes the tiebreak on Sunday. Pragg’s job is to defeat his illustrious opponent in the fast segment.

Duda won’t win the tournament, but at least he can say he beat the two best players. Like his fight with Carlsen recently, the Polish GM could have decided his match with Praggnanandhaa on the momentum, but ultimately did so in the blitz.

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It helped that Pragg blundered into a mate-in-one winning position in the first blitz game:

Jan-Krzysztof Duda FTX Crypto
Jan-Krzysztof Duda defeated both Carlsen and Praggnanandhaa. Image: Champions Chess Tour.

Le Giri 2.5-0.5

It took a few days for GM Le Quang Liem to get into shape, but after convincingly beating Praggnanandhaa 2.5-0.5, he beat GM Anish Giri by the same score. The first game saw some wild tactics and an evaluation bar that went crazy:

Aronian Niemann 2.5-1.5

GM Hans Niemann also lost his sixth game to GM Levon Aronian, despite starting again with an excellent first game win:

Aronian then won both of his white matches and braked the intervening match. The first win was pretty nice:

Levon Aronian FTX Crypto
Aronian: “I talked to myself before the game to play on instinct without really calculating much and it worked. If you’re not in good shape and blunder a lot, at some point you just have to trust your instincts. ” Image: Champions Chess Tour.

All games round 6

FTX Crypto Cup | Round 6 Standings

# fed Name Rtg points
1 Magnus Carlsen 2822 15
2 Praggnanandhaa R. 2751 13
3 Alireza Firouzja 2793 12
4 Le Quang Liem 2775 9
5-6 Levon Aronian 2793 8
5-6 Jan-Krzyztof Dudag 2792 8
7 Anish Giri 2783 7
8 Hans Niemann 2615

The FTX Crypto Cup, the sixth event in the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, will take place from August 15-21, 2022 on chess24. The format is a round-robin between 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 event 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 will earn $5,000 and two points; the loser, $2,500 and one point. The prize pool is $210,000 plus an additional $100,000 pegged to the price of Bitcoin.

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