FTX Crypto Cup: So wins, Carlsen draws

by Klaus Besenthal
5/29/2021 – On the first day of the FTX Crypto Cup semifinals, Wesley So beat Ian Nepomniachtchi by winning game 4 after having agreed to three draws. Meanwhile, world champion Magnus Carlsen and Teimour Radjabov traded blows in games 3 and 4, which means their match is tied going into day 2 of the semis.

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FTX Crypto Cup

So 2½ - 1½ Nepomniachtchi 

Apart from a quick draw by perpetual check in the second game, So and Nepo went deep into the endgame in all the remaining encounters. As our readers know, this means our in-house expert Karsten Müller had plenty of material to share some instructive analyses.

In the first game So found an optimal setup to defend against Nepo’s far advanced passed pawn. Karsten Müller explains that two rooks can be extremely dangerous for the opponent’s king in the endgame.


In the third game Nepo lost a knight in an unfortunate way, which meant he gave away what seemed to be a sure victory. At least it was still enough for a draw. Karsten Müller analysed the endgame.


In the fourth game, Nepo again lost a piece. This time it was not a knight but a bishop. And it was no longer possible to save the game.

A little later, we found out that Nepo had been struggling with a handicap during this game: a swarm of mosquitoes attacked him while he was sitting in front of the screen, giving him a hard time. The characteristic sounds produced by these insects could be heard all over the world via the microphone on Nepo’s computer...

Carlsen 2 - 2 Radjabov

In the third game, which Carlsen won, it was shown once again that in chess small factors can make a big difference in the end.


But this victory was not enough to secure victory in the first set for Carlsen. The world champion suffered a setback in the fourth game of the day.

Knockout bracket

All games - Knockout



Klaus Besenthal is computer scientist, has followed and still follows the chess scene avidly since 1972 and since then has also regularly played in tournaments.


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