Wesley So defeats reigning chess champ Magnus Carlsen in Paris

Wyatt Ong
Wesley So defeats reigning chess champ Magnus Carlsen in Paris
Wesley So becomes just the second Filipino ever to defeat a reigning world chess champion

MANILA, Philippines (SECOND UPDATE) – Filipino chess grandmaster Wesley So kicked off the 2016 Grand Chess Tour in as grand a fashion imaginable, defeating reigning reigning World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen on time Thursday, June 9 at La Maison de la Chimie in Paris, France.

So, 22, of Bacoor, Cavite, Philippines, managed the win after the Norwegian Carlsen reportedly froze while in a winnable position and ceded the victory to the world’s no. 10 rated player. 

So, who currently holds an Elo rating of 2770, followed that up by drawing with world no. two Vladimir Kramnik in the second round, losing to world no. 5 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the third round. defeating world no. 4 Levon Aronian in the fourth round before wrapping up the day with a draw against world no. 3 Fabiano Caruana in round 5. So’s 2-1-2 record on Day one was good enough for fourth place with 6 points, just a point behind Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura for the lead.

“I wouldn’t call it luck. I gave them opportunities to make mistakes,” So was quoted by the Grand Chess Tour Twitter account regarding his strong start.

Big win

The world’s best players are competing in this event from June 9-12. The game is played under rapid chess, which means each player has 25 minutes each to finish a game.

The gameboard at the moment Magnus Carlsen ran out of time against Wesley So. Screenshot from Chessdom.com  

This is the first time So has defeated Carlsen in this type of time control. Carlsen outplayed So in the 2015 Sinquefield Cup in the slower classical chess format, which affords players 90 mins each to make 40 moves with 30 seconds increment, then 60 minutes each to finish the game.

Eugene Torre is the only other Filipino to defeat a world champion, accomplishing the feat in July 1976, when he forced then titleholder Anatoly Karpov to resign in a tournament at the Philamlife Auditorium. In between draws and losses, Torre beat Karpov again in London in 1984.  

It is rare for the world champion to lose but rarer still to see him losing on time in a winning position. Carlsen, who had two queens against So’s Queen and a Knight, had no forced mate but he had to play one of his queens near his King to repulse a desperate move by So to force a draw by perpetual check. 

A line from a chess software showed the line was a bit complex especially if one had less than 20 seconds left under these time controls. 

“He had 20 seconds left when he promoted (to a queen),” said So, who switched to the United States Chess Federation in late 2014. “He thought he had more time than he really had. 

“He was winning in the position but I won. So, that may be one of his few weaknesses, losing on time,” he added. – Rappler.com

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.