Sam Sevian pulled off a dramatic win in the last game of the day to stay ahead in the FTX Road to Miami as the elite $150,000 esports event reaches its elimination day. The rookie American, 21, had seen Indian teenager Arjun Erigaisi score three straight wins to catapult himself up the prelim stage table and briefly take the lead.
But Sevian’s 37… Rxg4 rook sacrifice in the last game of the day against Wei Yi leapfrogged him back into the lead. Sevian, with 28/36 points, now needs just one more win tomorrow to post the highest prelim score yet in a Tour event. Replay the game here
Both Sevian, playing from Massachusetts, and Erigaisi with 26/36 have already guaranteed themselves passage into the knockout phase which starts on Thursday. Tomorrow eight will be eliminated from the field and several big guns are in danger of failing to make the cut. America’s new star Levon Aronian, playing from Armenia, faces a battle to survive along with Dutch No.1 Anish Giri. Aronian, the top seed, and Giri sit 7th and 8th with 17/36.
FTX Crypto Cup 2022 all the information / FTX Crypto Cup 2022 Miami Qualifier live
Meanwhile, Ju Wenjun’s hopes of reaching the knockout after scoring three wins yesterday faded quickly. The only woman in the event lost all her games and is now out of the reckoning. It was a big disappointment for Ju who started confidently in the first round of the day against the Cuban-American Leinier Dominguez with the ambitious 20. h4 pawn push.
But a fumble in the endgame under time pressure let Dominguez off the hook. One mistake – the pawn grab 46. Nxf7 – cost Ju the game. From that point on, the Women’s World Champion collapsed.
Will Evans, from FTX, a partner of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, appeared on the broadcast to outline why the big player in the crypto market had got involved in the event.
Speaking from Los Angeles, he said: “We see a great synergy between the chess and crypto communities. “So as chess players, there’s no single way to play the game, we all take different lines, we all have a little different style and I think the same is true with investing.”
Tomorrow rounds 13 to 15 will be played and eight will be eliminated before the knockout starts on Thursday. The FTX Road to Miami is the fifth leg of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour and the qualifier for the Tour’s next Major, the FTX Crypto Cup. The line-up of top players is competing for places in the Major and a prize fund of up to $150,000.
Those who make it through to the FTX Crypto Cup can vie for the Tour’s largest prize fund so far this year: $210K plus an additional $100K tied to the price of bitcoin provided by leading cryptocurrency exchange FTX. FTX is the Official Cryptocurrency Exchange Partner of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour and was the title partner of the first FTX Crypto Cup in the inaugural season of the Tour. Every move will be streamed live and for free on chess24.com/tour with commentary for all.