Wesley So, Nakamura draw first 4 games in Global Championship

Roy Luarca

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Wesley So, Nakamura draw first 4 games in Global Championship

STILL FIGHTING. Wesley So hopes to shake off his recent struggles.

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Wesley So, the inaugural champion in 2019, aims to reclaim the title even as speed chess king Hikaru Nakamura remains the favorite in the Global Championship

MANILA, Philippines – American stars Wesley So and Hikaru Nakamura drew their first four games on Friday, November 4, (Saturday, November 5, Philippine time) in the semifinals of the Chess.Com Global Championship 2022 in Toronto, Canada.

In the fourth game, the Filipino-born So went quality up with a queen and 2 rooks against Nakamura’s queen, rook and knight in Game 2, but sacrificed his rook to force a 2-2 draw and reduce their eight-game match to just four on Saturday.

Dutch ace Anish Giri and Indian sensation Nihal Sarin also wound up tied, 2-2, after their first four games in the semifinals of the $1 million event.

Known as the speed chess king, Nakamura is the favorite to rule the event and bag the $200,000 champion’s purse following a string of successes this year, including his conquest of the 2022 Fischer Random Chess World Championship recently at the expense of world title challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi.

Nakamura, a five-time US champion, displaced three-time US champion So, the inaugural champion of the event in 2019, who crashed out of the semifinal round this time.

In the quarterfinals, Nakamura showed his newfound strength by crushing reigning FIDE World Cup champion Jan-Krzysztof Duda, 5-2. So drubbed Russian Dmitry Andreikin, 4.5-2.5, to forge the semifinal duel.

In contrast, So has been struggling lately, also yielding his back-to-back US title to Fabiano Caruana and the 2022 Grand Chess Tour overall title to Alireza Firouzja and has yet to score a significant title this year.

So and the three other semifinalists are assured of at least $50,000 in the event which started with thousands participating in qualifiers around the world. –

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