Chess

Wesley So rules first Global Championship, bags P11.7 million

Roy Luarca
Wesley So rules first Global Championship, bags P11.7 million

CHAMP. Wesley So bounces back from a rough 2022 run.

Saint Louis Chess Club/Lennart Ootes

Filipino-born American chess star Wesley So downs India's Nihal Salin in six games to become the first-ever Chess.com Global Champion in Toronto, Canada

MANILA, Philippines – So good, Wesley So.

Responding to Nihal Salin’s desperate attacks with precision, So prevailed in Game 6 and cut short their eight-game final tussle to become the inaugural winner of the Chess.com Global Championship in Toronto, Canada, on Monday, November 7 (Tuesday, November 8, Manila time).

The Filipino-born So trounced the Indian sensation, 4.5-1.5, and bagged the $200,000 (P11.7 million) top purse in the $1.1-million event to compensate for some disappointing finishes in 2022, including losing his US national title, the Grand Chess Tour overall supremacy, and the Fischer Random world chess championship.

“Winning this one certainly [is big]. Just keep trying. I just finished a tournament, Reykjavik (Iceland) didn’t go well. I finished in sixth place,” said So, referring to last week’s Fischer Random won by fellow American Hikaru Nakamura, his victim in the semifinals. “It’s nice to win from time to time.”

And So, who also hoisted the elegant 24-karat championship trophy, did it in style.

The three-time US champion trounced Russian Dmitry Andreikin in the quarterfinals, then stunned the favored Nakamura in the semifinals, 5-3, before taming the 18-year-old Sarin, who gained confidence by besting Anish Giri via Armaggedon in the other semifinals tussle.

Against So, however, Sarin failed to shine. Trailing 1-3 after the first set of four games on Sunday, November 6, Sarin settled for a draw with So in their Modern Defense fifth game on Monday.

Sarin went with the Indian Game: East Indian Defense in Game 6, but So was ready and showed his defensive wizardry near the end by using his king to foil the youngster’s attempts to break through.

In the end, both had a queen, but So was up by a bishop and was a pawn ahead when Sarin finally resigned.

En route to the eight-man finals of the Global Championship, So trounced Dennis Lazavik in the Round of 64, Vasyl Ivanchuk in the Round of 32, and compatriot Jeffery Xiong in the Round of 16.

Next up for So is the final event of the $1.6-million 2022 Meltwater Champions Chess Tour starting next Monday, November 14, in San Francisco, California.

There, So hopes to wield the same form in classical play. – Rappler.com

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