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FTX Crypto Cup 2022 R1: Praggnanandhaa beats Firouzja for the very first time

by Shahid Ahmed - 16/08/2022

Praggnanandhaa had not defeated Alireza Firouzja in any format until yesterday. The recently turned 17-year-old started his Meltwater Champions Chess Tour FTX Crypto Cup 2022 with a resounding victory over the former world no.2. The current world no.4 struck back immediately in the second game. However, he faltered in the next and Praggnanandhaa took the lead. The fourth game ended in a draw, which meant Praggnanandhaa won the match. Jan-Krzysztof Duda, Magnus Carlsen and Levon Aronian were the other three victors of the round. Praggnanandhaa will face Giri in Round 2 which starts tonight at 9:30 p.m. IST. Photo: ChessBase India live stream

Carlsen, Duda and Aronian score

The first round of FTX Crypto Cup had nine decisive games and seven draws. Anish Giri has not defeated the world champion in any format since World Blitz 2021 and that continues. Jan-Krzysztof Duda perhaps scored the most picturesque win of the round against Hans Niemann in their second game.

Praggnanandhaa started with a fantastic win over Alireza Firouzja | Photo: ChessBase India live stream

Praggnanandhaa - Firouzja: 2.5-1.5

Praggnanandhaa capitalized on his opponent Alireza Firouzja's positive mistake.

Praggnanandhaa - Firouzja, Game 1

Position after 22...Nxd5

22...Nxd5 created a target on the c5-pawn. Praggnanandhaa immediately pounced on it 23.Rac1 Qb6 24.Re5 Nb4 25.d4 Nc6 26.Rexc5+-. White utilized the isolated passed pawn on d-file to his advantage and went on to win the game.

In the second game, Praggnanandhaa got himself a substantial advantage against Firouzja. However, he made an error when he was down to the last minute on the clock.

Firouzja - Praggnanandhaa, Game 2

Position after 33.Rc7

33...Rb3 threatening Rb1 was the only way for Black to maintain the upper hand. In the game, Black was down to less than a minute left on the clokc. He played 33...Ba6 which cost him the c2-pawn after 34.Ng4 Nf5 35.Rxc2 and eventually the game too.

Firouzja got a significant advantage in the endgame of the third game.

Praggnanandhaa - Firouzja, Game 3

Position after 43.Qd1

Black is completely winning here. Both players were down to the final few seconds on their clocks. 43...Rxc2 is the correct way to proceed for Black. However, he opted for 43...Qxc2 which allowed White to bounce back 44.Qxc2 Rxc2 45.Rf7 Kh6 46.Rxb7 Ree2 47.Rd7 d3 48.Rdxd3. Eventually Black made a blunder in a drawn rook endgame.

Position after 68.Ka6

Black can exchange the h-pawn for the c5 and it is well-known that White cannot win with the rook-pawn. However, Black made a blunder 68...Ra1. Find out why it is a big mistake and what Black could have done to save the game.

Pragg rises back from the dead to beat Firouzja | Video: ChessBase India

The fourth game was a draw, which means Praggnanandhaa won the match 2.5-1.5, thus he earned 3 points for winning his Round 1 match.

Duda - Niemann, Game 2

Final position after 59.b7

Jan-Krzysztof Duda won the second game with the most picturesque finish of the day 59.b7. The creative genius almost always finds a way to create something beautiful in his game.

Anish Giri was dominated by Magnus Carlsen 1-3 | Photo: chess24

Replay the live stream

FTX Crypto Cup 2022 Round 1 Live commentary by IM Sagar Shah | Video: ChessBase India

Replay Round 1 games

Round 1 results

Praggnanandhaa, Duda, Carlsen and Aronian score | Photo: chess24

Standings after Round 1

Carlsen, Duda, Praggnanandhaa and Aronian made a winning start | Photo: chess24

All games will start from 9:30 p.m. IST between 15th and 21st August 2022.

Links

Official site

Tournament regulations


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