MANILA, Philippines – Wesley So and Magnus Carlsen duplicated each other’s effort as they surged ahead of their semifinal rivals in the Clutch Chess International on Thursday, June 11 (Friday, June 12, Philippine time).
The Filipino-born So won the first, the second and the vital fifth game while drawing the third, fourth and sixth to lead fellow Team USA stalwart Fabiano Caruana, 6-2, after the first half of their 12-game round of 4 tussle.
Norwegian world champion Carlsen pulled ahead of Armenian Levon Aronian, 6-2, exactly the same way as they moved closer toward a projected title duel in the $265,000 (P13.25 million) online event hosted by the Saint Louis Chess Club in Saint Louis, Missouri.
So is seeking a decisive victory over Caruana, his victim in the first Clutch Chess Champions Showdown finals last month. (READ: Wesley So clinches Clutch Chess title, P1.5M)
That time, So led (4.5-3.5) after the first half and though the world No. 2 managed to knot the count, 9-9, in the end, So took the title due to his two clutch wins (games 6 and 11) against Caruana’s one (game 12).
Though ranked only 7th among the 8 super Grandmasters entered in the rapid knockout tournament, So is defying the seedings anew after dumping second seed Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, 13-5, in the quarterfinals.
Under the novel scoring scheme created by GM Maurice Ashley, games 5 and 6 are worth 2 points each plus $2,000 bonus while games 11 and 12 count as 3 each plus $3,000 bonus.
With their fifth game wins, So and Carlsen need only to draw games 11 and 12 to forge a title duel. The champion gets $50,000 and the runner-up $35,000, excluding bonuses. – Rappler.com
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