GM Levon Aronian and GM Wei Yi qualified for the two-day final of the FTX Road to Miami tournament. Wei needed just three games to knock out GM Richard Rapport, while Aronian defeated GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda 3-1.
The final will consist of two matches, one on Saturday and one on Sunday, and if needed, a tiebreak also on Sunday. By securing the top two places, Aronian and Wei have also qualified for the next “major” in the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, the FTX Crypto Cup in Miami, which starts August 15.
This match between two FIDE World Cup winners started with a draw. The second game saw an interesting endgame where Duda first missed a win and then gave away the draw:
After an exciting third game ended in a draw, Duda had to take risks in a must-win game. In the second Queen’s Gambit Accepted of the match, an opening that is seeing a bit of a revival lately, Duda was doing well, but his 12.f4 was somewhat premature. A queen sacrifice would have been a nice follow-up, but the Polish GM played differently and was soon lost:
Also in the other match, the 2022 FIDE Candidate was eliminated. Playing from Hangzhou City, Wei needed just three games to knock out Rapport.
In the second game, the Hungarian GM tried to catch Wei in a long, theoretical variation of the Moscow variation of the Sicilian, but Wei, who had played the same line before, actually wasn’t caught off guard at all and ended up with an extra piece:
Also in the next game, Rapport’s first new move wasn’t a good one. Here, it cost him a piece right away. “I think he was not in his best form,” Wei said.
Wei said he was surprised to reach this final. “I don’t think I played very good in the preliminaries!”
All Games Semifinals
The 2022 Champions Chess Tour’s fifth event, the FXT Road To Miami, takes place July 10-17, 2022 on chess24. The preliminary phase is a 16-player rapid (15|10) round-robin. The top eight players advance to the knockout phase that consists of two days of four-game rapid matches, which advance to blitz (5|3) and armageddon (White has five minutes; Black, four with no increment) tiebreaks only if a knockout match is tied after the second day. The prize fund is $150,000.