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The field of FTX Road to Miami cut in half as the prelims stage concluded today

Hotshot rookie Sam Sevian reigned supreme in the FTX Road to Miami’s prelim stage as the $150,000 esports event now heads into its knockout phase.

The 21-year-old from Massachusetts, playing in his first Meltwater Champions Chess Tour event, followed up his impressive first three days with another assured performance to clinch top spot. Sevian’s rookie run has already earned him $8,000 ($250 per point), with his prize pot set to grow in the next stage. Today, Sevian did just enough to stay ahead of the event’s other breakout star, Indian young gun Arjun Erigaisi, picking up 4 points from a win and a draw. It left the American one point clear on the leaderboard after the final round of the prelim.

With three rounds left to play, Erigaisi – who won three games yesterday – started with a draw against Dutch No.1 Anish Giri that kept him breathing down Sevian’s neck.

Then the fireworks started. Round 14, the penultimate in the prelim, was as bloody as it could be as every game ended with a winner – a rare event at the top level. And there were a series of eyebrow-raising results. Erigaisi and Jeffery Xiong, the leader on the first day, faced-off against each other. The two youngsters, along with Sevian, have set the pace in this event but it was Erigaisi who came out on top. Sevian suffered his first defeat of the tournament against Poland’s World Cup winner Jan-Krzysztof Duda allowing Erigaisi to edge ahead going into the final round.

FTX Crypto Cup 2022 all the information / FTX Crypto Cup 2022 Miami Qualifier live

Meanwhile, Shakrhiyar Mamedyarov, one of the tournament’s big beasts, suffered a catastrophic defeat to Aryan Tari that left him outside the top 8 and in danger of going out. As crunch time approached, Wei Yi, Mamedyarov and Norway’s No. 2 Aryan Tari were all fighting it out for one qualification spot.

The first two results saw Giri beat the freefalling Hans Niemann in just 10 minutes to secure his spot while Aronian and Duda drew to send both of them safely through.

Mamedyarov, meanwhile, faced the in-form Sevian in a must-win game. It proved too much for Mamedyarov as the Azerbaijan’s No.1 was forced to resign, dumping him out of the tournament. Mamedyarov had lost all three of his games.

Sevian said: “I’m feeling great. I wanted to keep it simple today, play three solid games and get ready for tomorrow and I had some interesting fights nonetheless!”

The knockout starts with the quarter-final on Thursday, before the semi on Friday and then the two-day final over the weekend. Sevian faces Wei, while Erigaisi takes on Aronian in a youngest vs oldest clash.

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 with commentary for all.

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