World Champion Magnus Carlsen will be joined by Alireza Firouzja, Levon Aronian, Anish Giri, Jan-Krzysztof Duda, Liem Le, Hans Niemann and Praggnanandhaa for the FTX Crypto Cup, taking place in Miami, Florida from August 15-21. The 2nd Major on the 2022 Meltwater Champions Chess Tour features a $210,000 prize fund plus a $100,000 bitcoin bonus.
Who’s playing the FTX Crypto Cup?
The 8-player line-up for the FTX Crypto Cup features some of the world’s very best players and most exciting juniors.
Magnus Carlsen, the world no. 1 for over a decade, is still the World Champion until 2023, and in his announcement that he wouldn’t defend the title for a 5th time said of his plans, “then to Miami to play one of the real highlights of the year, I feel, the FTX Crypto Cup, which is going to be awesome!”. Magnus won the first two events on this year’s tour, the Airthings Masters and the Charity Cup, and tops the tour standings after banking $106,500. He also has a title to defend, since he won the FTX Crypto Cup in 2021.
Alireza Firouzja will be making his tour debut for 2022 as a wildcard — two extra spots opened up after China’s Ding Liren and Wei Yi were unfortunately unable to travel to Miami. The Iranian-born Frenchman needs little introduction. He’s not only the world’s strongest junior but the youngest player in history to cross the 2800 barrier. He had a tough Candidates Tournament, but was back in form on the last day of the SuperUnited Rapid and Blitz in Croatia, when he beat Magnus and Ian Nepomniachtchi in a run of 7 wins in 8 games. Replay the games here
Levon Aronian qualified by winning the last event on the tour, the FTX Road to Miami, and will no doubt savour playing in Florida after recently moving to the USA. He might come to Miami as a gold medallist, since USA are favourites to win the Chess Olympiad in Chennai just days before.
Dutch no. 1 Anish Giri has missed just one tour event in 2022 and sits 5th in the standings with $49,000. Since the pandemic struck he’s made himself one of the best online rapid and blitz players.
Jan-Krzysztof Duda comes to Miami as #2 in the tour standings, with $73,000 in earnings. The Polish no. 1 knows exactly what winning will take since he triumphed in the first Major of the 2022 tour, the Oslo Esports Cup.
Liem Le, the US-based Vietnamese no. 1, was just a game or two away from snatching that title, and is currently 4th in the overall standings.
19-year-old Hans Niemann has risen like a rocket in the last couple of years to become the no. 1 US junior. He’s struggled at times on the tour, but gets another chance to face off against the world’s best players.
16-year-old Praggnanandhaa will turn 17 just before travelling to Miami. The Indian prodigy was one of the stars of the Oslo Esports Cup and qualified after finishing runner-up in the Chessable Masters, an event where he defeated Anish Giri and Wei Yi in matches as well as beating Magnus Carlsen in their individual game.
Where is the FTX Crypto Cup taking place?
Although the players will once again be competing on chess24, they’ll all be in one venue — the Eden Roc Miami Beach Hotel in Miami, Florida. This will be the first Meltwater Champions Chess Tour event in the USA after the plan to host the 2021 final in San Francisco had to be abandoned due to the pandemic.
There’s another first, as some spectators will able to follow the action live in the venue, while if you can’t get to Miami you can also participate with the free FTX Crypto Cup Key.
The key will unlock unique fan experiences including fantasy challenges, chess activities and giveaways, and $100K in rewards and prizes, which will be distributed throughout the summer and during the tournament.
When does the FTX Crypto Cup start?
There’s less than a week from the end of the Olympiad to the start of the FTX Crypto Cup, with the Opening Ceremony on August 14th before the games kick off at 12:00 ET (18:00 CEST, 21:30 IST) on August 15th.
Just as for the Oslo Esports Cup, the players face one of their rivals each day over seven rounds. Each match consists of four rapid games with 15 minutes per player and a 10-second increment added each move.
If a match is tied there’s a playoff with two 5+3 blitz games. If still tied there’s a final “Armageddon” game, where White has 5 minutes to Black’s 4, but a draw counts as a win for Black.
What’s at stake in the FTX Crypto Cup?
There’s $7,500 at stake for each match, and if a player wins in the first four rapid games they take the full $7,500 — if a player wins all 7 matches without needing playoffs they’ll earn $52,500. If a match goes to a playoff the winner gets $5,000 and the loser $2,500.
That’s not all, however, since our sponsors, the leading cryptocurrency exchange FTX, are adding a $100,000 bitcoin bonus, just as they did in 2021. The value of that prize will fluctuate during the event.
The FTX Crypto Cup will also be the 6th event on the tour, with just three more to follow. That means the tour standings are getting more important, since there’s a $50,000 additional prize for the tour winner.
How can I watch the FTX Crypto Cup action?
Once again we’ll have two free broadcasts here on chess24. Peter Leko and Tania Sachdev will be commentating, with Tania expected to be reporting live from Miami.
We’ve also got the team of David, Kaja, Simon, Jovanka and Askild in our Oslo studio.
It’s going to be spectacular, and in the meantime you can catch many of our commentators at the Olympiad. David and Jovanka are playing for England, Tania is playing for India, and Peter Leko is commentating each round with Peter Svidle on chess24!