Wesley So trips Magnus Carlsen, stretches win streak to 6

Roy Luarca

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Wesley So trips Magnus Carlsen, stretches win streak to 6

LEADER. Wesley So paces the field in the Grand Chess Tour overall rankings.

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Filipino-born American chess star Wesley So hands top-ranked sensation Magnus Carlsen a rare loss in the 2023 Champions Chess Tour Finals

MANILA, Philippines – Streaking Wesley So handed Magnus Carlsen a rare loss via Armageddon in the fifth round on Monday, December 11 (Tuesday, December 12, Manila time) to grab the solo lead in the 2023 Champions Chess Tour Finals at the 1 Hotel in Ontario, Canada.

Not content with beating the former world champion and tournament reigning titlist, the Filipino-born So then subdued Nodirbek Abdusattorov in the sixth round to clinch the No. 1 spot with one round to go in the round-robin stage of the eight-player, $500,000 event.

Returning to his fiery form, So stretched his win run to six for a perfect 6.0 points, towing Carlsen, who rebounded with a 1.5-0.5 victory over Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, with 5.0 points into the semifinals.

Other Round 6 results saw Fabiano Caruana trip the slumping Hikaru Nakamura via Armageddon and Alireza Firouja prevail over Denis Lazavik, also via Armageddon.

So, who drew with Carlsen in their first two games, will tangle with fellow Team USA stalwart Fabiano Caruana in the seventh round. Also on tap are the matches pitting Carlsen against Firouzja, Abdusattorov against Vachier-Lagrave, and Nakamura against Lazavik.

A knight sacrifice paved the way for So’s victory in the Armageddon tiebreaker, where Carlsen later erroneously gave up his queen for a rook.

With 4.0 points, Caruana is assured of a spot in the survival stage with Abdusattorov (3.0 points).

Vachier-Lagrave (2.0), Firouzja (2.0), Nakamura (1.0), and Lazavik (1.0) are fighting for survival with the last two finishers in the round-robin bowing out. –

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