Carlsen salvages vital point to edge ahead of Pragg

Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen clawed his way into a narrow lead in the FTX Crypto Cup in Miami with a point salvaged from a disasterous Round 5 match today.

The out-of-sorts World Champion blundered his way to a two-game deficit against Jan-Krzysztof Duda before an unexpected power outage in the Eden Roc Miami Beach affected the playing arena.

It appeared to affect the players too as Carlsen refocused when Duda could not and dug deep to win the next two games. Having looked dead and buried, Carlsen had levelled the match at 2-2 and taken it to tiebreaks.

With momentum behind the Norwegian going into the blitz play-off, history suggested there was only going to be one winner.

But Duda had other ideas. He roared back to win the first blitz game and then, when Carlsen blundered a bishop in the second, the match ended with Poland’s number 1 picking up the win. Duda took 2 points and Carlsen 1.

Earlier, Indian wonderkid Praggnanandhaa, who has looked so impressive in this event, finally cracked under pressure after four straight match wins. He went down in three games 2.5-0.5 to Vietnam’s Liem Quang Le, ending his hopes of taking the sole lead.

It was Pragg’s first shut-out of the tournament and it leaves him one point behind Carlsen.

Coming up from behind is the exciting teenager Alireza Firouzja who breezed past the enigmatic American Hans Niemann by 2.5 to 0.5 to sit a point behind Pragg and just two off the lead.

What looked like a two-horse race yesterday now has three riders going into the final two rounds which are becoming increasingly tense.

Anish Giri, another player who has been badly out-of-sorts, took all three points from his match against Levon Aronian. Winning two games in a row to finish Aronian off, Giri showed he has rediscovered his ruthless streak. However, realistically, both players are out of the running.

Round 6 of the eight player round-robin event starts at 12:00 ET (18:00 CEST). Each match will be played over four rapid games, with blitz tiebreaks in case of a 2:2 draw.

All the action will be broadcast on chess24 with a choice of commentary from our Oslo team of David HowellJovanka Houska and Kaja Snare, or from Peter Leko and Tania Sachdev.

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