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FTX Crypto Cup Finals Day 1: Carlsen-So put up a good fight while Radjabov draws the ire

by Shahid Ahmed - 31/05/2021

Magnus Carlsen despite feeling unwell managed to beat Wesley So in the first game of the first set of Finals in Meltwater Champions Chess Tour FTX Crypto Cup. They drew the next game and then So leveled the score by beating Carlsen, before they drew again to tie the first set 2-2. However Radjabov drew the ire of the chess universe after making four consecutive short draws and then making a cryptic tweet that most of his colleagues got the point and implied that amateurs did not. It would be interesting to know what the point was. Will So beat Carlsen for the third time in this season or will Carlsen win his second straight tournament of the year. Second set of Finals start tonight from 8:30 p.m. IST.

Only world champions played chess

Carlsen despite suffering from illness started the Finals with a victory over Wesley So. Then he made a draw before the Fischer Random world champion So struck back and levelled the score 1.5-1.5. The fourth game was also another draw which is the exact replica of the second game. Now the world champions making a draw in the fourth game is still understandable because Carlsen was unwell. However the chess universe has been very critical of Radjabov and Nepomniachtchi taking quick draws and not 'playing' chess at all.

Carlsen and So played fighting chess | Photo: Fischer Random World Championship Official site

So - Carlsen: 2-2

In the first game So did not anticipate Carlsen's attack which cost him the game.

So - Carlsen, Game 1

Position after 26...Nf5

It is clear that black wants to focus all his pieces on the kingside. He will bring the queenside rook to f7 and then roll the h-pawn down the board to break white's kingside. 27.Qc5 did not help white's case as black has no problems giving up c6 and b5 because his attack is devastating. White needed to bring his queen back for defence and offer a queen exchange via Qb3/b1 and Qd1.

Position after 30.Qxc6

Find out the finish for black here. As revealed by the world champion himself, despite feeling illness, Carlsen won the first game and took 1-0 lead.

The second and fourth game were the exactly the same Berlin draws in 29 moves.

So - Carlsen, Game 3

Position after 16...f6

16...f6 is the first mistake which shifted the balance in So's favor. As after 17.f3 c6 18.Bd3 Ng5 19.Bxg6 hxg6 20.Bxg5 fxg5 black got the not-so-ideal triple pawn.

Position after 20...fxg5

It was certainly not going to be easy for Carlsen to make a recovery from this position especially against So, someone who has beaten the Norwegian twice in the finals in this season and definitely holds a psychological advantage.

Position after 30...Kh8

Find out the finish for white in the above diagram.

Radjabov - Nepomniachtchi: 2-2

Radjabov and Nepomniachtchi decided not to play chess as they made four quick draws totaling only 55 moves played in four games for a duration of less than an hour. The chess universe fittingly criticized this decision. Tata Steel 2021 winner Jorden van Foreest tweeted the following

Best seller writer, renowned coach and former world top 12 player Ivan Sokolov agreed with Jorden

Switzerland no.2 Noel Studer tweeted something which is on a lot of players' mind when the saw those draws

Radjabov tweeted the following about his games

His good friend and twitter king Anish Giri as usual cracked another joke about it

French GM Romain Edouard expressed his anguish towards the game

Norway no.3 GM Johan-Sebastian Christiansen did not like it either

GM Jonathan Tisdall did not get the point which Radjabov was trying to make

Chess journalist Tarjei J Svensen also did not get the point

Finally Jorden also preferred to be an amateur player than to understand Radjabov's tweet

It is quite understandable that Nepomniachtchi taking quick draws because of two reasons - he has a World Championship match to prepare for and the other reason is mosquitos cost him a spot in the Finals. The question which is on most of the chess players mind is what was the point? One can only hope it will be revealed and not left to each one's interpretation.

Replay all Final games from Day 1

Replay the live stream

FTX Crypto Cup Final Day 1 | Champions Chess Tour Live Commentary | Video: ChessBase India

Final Day 1 results

The first set between Carlsen and So is tied | Photo: Champions Chess Tour

Schedule

Everyday game starts at 8:30 p.m. IST

Links

Official site

Tournament Regulations


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