FTX Crypto Cup: Anish Giri takes lead; Carlsen struggles

Giri, looking for his second title from the sixth leg of the Tour, won against last-man Alan Pichot, Ding Liren and Alexander Grischuk, in that order.

Armed with four points, Giri enjoyed a half-point lead over the undefeated trio of So, Vachier-Lagrave and Nakamura.

An unbeaten Anish Giri emerged as an early leader after five rounds of FTX Crypto Cup even as Magnus Carlsen suffered an “awful” opening day in the last major of the $1.5-million Meltwaters Champions Chess Tour on Sunday.

Giri, looking for his second title from the sixth leg of the Tour, won against last-man Alan Pichot, Ding Liren and Alexander Grischuk, in that order, besides drawing with Levon Aronian and Daniil Dubov in the second and fifth rounds.

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Giri, armed with four points, enjoyed a half-point lead over the undefeated trio of Wesley So, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Hikaru Nakamura.

Among the second-placed players, who shared an identical two-win-three-draw record, Vachier was most impressive since his victims included Carlsen, in the fourth round.

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Carlsen, apart from that lone loss, was the only player to drop half a point to Pichot, which saw the Argentine open his account in the day’s last round. Carlsen started well by beating Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in a double-edged battle. However, he not only failed to win another game on the day and the loss to Vachier ended his 30-game unbeaten streak in the league stage of the Tour.

In the much-awaited clash with Ian Nepomniachtchi, challenger for the next World championship match, Carlsen gained a better position but could not translate his advantage into an important win. Carlsen’s other draw came against So.

The results:

Fifth round: Anish Giri (Ned) drew with Daniil Dubov (Rus); Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus) drew with Peter Svidler (Rus); Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra) drew with Hikaru Nakamura (USA); Wesley So (USA) drew with Alireza Firouzja (FIDE); Shahkriyar Mamedyarov (Aze) bt Fabiano Caruana (USA); Teimour Radjabov (Aze) drew with Levon Aronian (Arm); Ding Liren (Chn) bt Alexander Grischuk (Rus); Alan Pichot (Arg) drew with Magnus Carlsen (Nor).

Fourth round: Grischuk lost to Giri; Nakamura drew with So; Carlsen lost to Vachier; Firouzja drew with Nepomniachtchi; Aronian drew with Ding; Dubov bt Pichot; Svidler drew with Mamedyarov; Caruana drew with
Radjabov.

Third round: Giri bt Liren; Nepomniachtchi lost to Nakamura; Wesley drew with Carlsen; Vachier drew with Dubov; Mamedyarov lost to Firouzja; Pichot lost to Grischuk; Caruana drew with Aronian; Radjabov bt Svidler.

Second round: Aronian drew with Giri; Grischuk lost to Vachier; Dubov lost to So; Carlsen drew with Nepomniachtchi; Nakamura bt Mamedyarov; Ding bt Pichot; Firouzja drew with Radjabov; Svidler lost to Caruana.

First round: Pichot lost to Giri; Mamedyarov lost to Carlsen; Svidler bt Aronian; Nepomniachtchi bt Dubov; So bt Grischuk; Radjabov drew with Nakamura; Vachier drew with Liren; Caruana drew with Firouzja.

Standings (after five rounds): 1. Giri (4 points), 2-4. Nakamura, Vachier, So (3.5 each), 5-7. Ding, Radjabov, Firouzja (3 each), 8-10. Caruana, Nepomniachtchi, Carlsen (2.5 each), 11-13. Dubov, Svidler, Aronian (2 each), 14. Mamedyarov (1.5), 15. Grischuk (1), 16. Pichot (0.5).

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