Wesley So clinches Clutch Chess title, P1.5M

Roy Luarca
Wesley So clinches Clutch Chess title, P1.5M
Filipino-born Wesley So upsets world No. 2 Fabiano Caruana to rule an inaugural US online chess tournament



MANILA, Philippines – So far, so good for Wesley So.

The Filipino-born So won the 11th of his 12-game final tussle with Fabiano Caruana on Friday, May 29 (Saturday, May 30, Philippine time) to rule the inaugural Clutch Chess Champions Showdown.

Assured of the title and the $30,000 (P1.5 million) prize, So yielded the last game to Caruana, who knotted the count at 9-9 but lost via tiebreak in the online tournament confined to United States chess team members.

The 26-year-old So’s triumph in the sixth game on Thursday pushed him ahead, 4.5-3.5, and proved pivotal as it was worth 2 clutch points, just like Game 5 which ended in a draw.

Under the novel format conceptualized by Grandmaster Maurice Ashley, there would only be a title playoff if the finalists emerged tied in clutch points. So finished with 5 and Caruana 3 after trading wins in Games 11 and 12.

Caruana pulled ahead by winning Games 7 and 8 and then settled for a draw in Game 9. So caught up by taking Game 10 and moved beyond recall by beating the world No. 2 in Game 11.

So, the first world Fischer Random Chess king over world champion Magnus Carlsen, got $10,000 more for his clutch wins.

En route to the title duel, So rallied to beat Hikaru Nakamura, 9.5-8.5, while Caruana dumped Leinier Dominguez Perez, 15-3, in the semifinals.

Rattled by that loss to So, Nakamura got swept by Carlsen, 3-0, on Thursday in the first phase of their semifinal clash in the Lindores Rapid Challenge. Nakamura, however, won the second phase, 2.5-1.5, to force a Saturday decider.

The winner between Carlsen and Nakamura will advance to the finals against Russian Daniil Dubov, who beat Chinese Ding Liren twice, 2.5-1.5 and 2.5-0.5 in their own semifinal battle. – Rappler.com


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