FTX Crypto Cup final: Carlsen records two sensational wins to deny So

Magnus Carlsen pumped his fists and let go of a victorious roar after breaking the final jinx against the American grandmaster.

Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen recorded two consecutive wins against Wesley So to seal the Crypto Cup final on Tuesday.   -  Getty Images

With Wesley So just a draw away from claiming his third title of the season, Magnus Carlsen pulled off two back-to-back victories and scripted a sensational finish to the $220,000 FTX Crypto Cup online rapid chess tournament on Monday.

When So resigned, Carlsen pumped his fists and let go of a victorious roar. After all, Carlsen had lost two previous finals to So this season.

“It’s a massive, massive relief. I do feel at the end that we were both pretty broken, and sometimes it goes your way, but yeah, it was a great fight,” said a delighted Carlsen after winning the toughest and richest online event in history.

The title was worth $60,000 plus a share of bitcoins at its present rate for Carlsen. So received $40,000 plus bitcoins. For the third place, Ian Nepomniachtchi received $25,000 plus bitcoins after taming Teimour Radjabov 2.5-1.5.

Radjabov got $15,000 and his share of bitcoins.

READ| FTX Crypto Cup: Carlsen, So trade blows in drawn first match

Since this was a major event, the triumph ensured Carlsen a place in the $300,000 season finale.

On Monday, Carlsen started just the way he did on Sunday - by winning in style. Again, like on Sunday, So hit back immediately to draw level. Two equal draws later, it was time for the two-game five-minute blitz tie-breaker.

The first twist to the tale came when So punished Carlsen for an uncharacteristic tactical error in the first blitz game. At this stage, So needed just a draw with white pieces in the second blitz game to seal the title.

READ| FTX Crypto Cup: Magnus Carlsen faces Wesley So in the final

Carlsen, visibly upset with himself after losing the first blitz game, came out aggressively and won in a ruthlessly, clinical manner. That took the final to the title-deciding Armageddon game, where the player with white pieces gets five minutes on the clock, and black four. Unlike the rapid or blitz games, no increment time is permitted.

In case of a draw, black is adjudged the winner.

So had the right to choose the colour since he finished higher in the round-robin phase of the competition. So opted to play with black pieces. Before long, Carlsen gained an iron-grip in this must-win game and underlined his supremacy.

Looking back at his campaign, during which he was staring at a possible elimination in the last game of the preliminary league stage, Carlsen said, “It’s pretty sick! I came back five times when I sort of needed to win, and I also lost twice when I was up, so it was just absolutely insane, and I’m just so happy to have pulled through."

Making an objective assessment, Carlsen said, “This was never, ever my tournament, nothing came easy at all, so that’s why it’s really, really, really satisfying to come out on top. I think both Wesley and I can play better, but it’s not really important to me right now!

“Winning this one with all the best guys (world’s all top-10 ranked players) is a massive deal, and I’ll try to take the no. 1 seed into the final (the season-ending finale), which I should have a very good chance of doing.”

So, obviously disappointed at the loss specially after coming within a draw of claiming the title, admitted, “After I won the first blitz game I almost had it in the bag."

He continued, “I think I did much better than anyone expected, including myself. I’m actually pretty pleased with the way I played today, probably except for Armageddon, which was so bad. Of course, it’s heartbreaking, but I’d like to congratulate Magnus on a great performance. He is a well-deserved winner for this one.”

The next event of the $1.5 million Meltwater Champions Chess Tour begins on June 26.

The results:

Final: Match Two (rapid): Magnus Carlsen (Nor) drew with Wesley So (USA) 2-2; (blitz): Carlsen drew with So 1-1; (Armageddon): Carlsen bt So.

For third place: Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus) bt Teimour Radjabov (Aze) 2.5-1.5.

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :