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

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Scoring 4/5 on the second day, GM Fabiano Caruana jumped to shared first place at the FTX Crypto Cup. The American GM shares the lead with 2022 FIDE Candidate GM Teimour Radjabov and GM Hikaru Nakamura. GM Magnus Carlsen, on the other hand, is in danger of early elimination.


FTX Crypto Cup | Round 10 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 2859 ½

1 ½ ½

1

0 1 ½ ½

1 6.5/10
2 Radjabov 2765 2860 ½ ½

½ ½

1

½ 1 ½ ½

1 6.5/10
3 Nakamura 2736 2862

½ ½ ½ ½ ½

1 1

½ ½ 1 6.5/10
4 Giri 2780 2827 0

½

1 0 ½

½ 1 ½ 1 1 6.0/10
5 So 2770 2839 ½ ½ ½

½ ½ ½ ½

½ 1 1

6.0/10
6 Vachier-Lagrave 2760 2804 ½ ½ ½

½ ½ 1 0

½ ½ 1

5.5/10
7 Ding 2799 2785

½ 0

½ ½ ½

½ ½ ½ 1 1 5.5/10
8 Svidler 2714 2801 0 0

1 ½ ½ ½

½ ½ 1

1 5.5/10
9 Carlsen 2847 2792

½ ½ 0 ½

1 ½ 0

1 1 ½ 5.5/10
10 Mamedyarov 2770 2774 1 ½ 0

½ 1

½ 0 ½ 1 0

5.0/10
11 Nepomniachtchi 2792 2733 0 0 0

½

½ ½ ½ 1 ½ 1

4.5/10
12 Aronian 2781 2743 ½ ½

½

½ 0 1 0 0

½ 1

4.5/10
13 Firouzja 2759 2696 ½ ½

0 ½ ½ ½

1 ½

0 0 4.0/10
14 Dubov 2710 2697

½ ½ 0 ½ ½

0

0 ½

½ 1 4.0/10
15 Grischuk 2776 2611

½ 0 0 0 0

0

0 1 ½ 1 3.0/10
16 Pichot 2630 2470 0 0 0 0

0 0 ½

1 0 0 1.5/10

Caruana hadn’t played serious online chess for half a year but only needed a day to warm up. On an excellent second day, he drew two games and won three, including against two of his rivals at the recent Candidates: GM Ian Nepomniachtchi and GM Anish Giri.

Nepo was beaten in a fairly straightforward game. Caruana managed to avoid the Grunfeld by turning it into a Pirc. Then he used ideas from the King’s Indian:

Also in his game with Giri, Caruana ended with a killer of a passed d-pawn. It’s interesting to see how Giri is trying all kinds of different openings (leftovers from the Candidates prep?), and he was doing OK in the opening:

Co-leader Radjabov also beat Nepomniachtchi, who finds himself in 11th place with five rounds to go. A pawn sacrifice in the opening backfired:

Teimour Radjabov FTX Crypto
Already seeded into the next Candidates, Radjabov is doing well in this tournament. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

GM Alireza Firouzja, the youngest player in the field, had started with a solid plus-one on the first day, but then he had a bad second day with three losses. Tailender GM Alan Pichot scored his only victory so far against the Iranian prodigy with an early Nxf7. What decided the game was Firouzja self-trapping his queen:

And what about the world champion? Well, after his “awful” first day, he only did slightly better with two wins and one loss. After starting his first game with 1.b4 against Giri (a draw), he tried 1.b3 in the next. With a bit of help from his opponent, that went pretty well:

Carlsen ended the day with an unnecessary loss, where he played a few bad moves in a row in an endgame against GM Levon Aronian. The Tour leader was disgusted with himself and described his play afterward as a “self-inflicted wound.”

Magnus Carlsen FTX Crypto
Carlsen will need to do better on day three. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

All Games Day 2

The FTX Crypto Cup runs May 23-31 on chess24. The preliminary phase is a 16-player rapid (15|10) round-robin. The top eight players advance 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.


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