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Carlsen rips Wesley So in Banter Series Finals

Magnus Carlsen won the first two games and went on to trounce Wesley So in the Chess24 Banter Series Finals on Wednesday, September 30. 

The Filipino-born So fought back with wins in games 4 and 6, but allowed Carlsen to escape with a draw in game 8 and ran out of time in the 9th to hand the crown and the $12,000 (P600,000) to the longtime world champion.

So, the Philippines' top player before switching to Team USA, settled for 2nd place worth $6,000 (P300,000).

After sharing the title with So in the recent Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz, Carlsen was determined to become solo champion in the novel tournament requiring participants to stream and commentate their own games.

Carlsen, the heavy favorite, opened hostilities by playing f3, followed by Kf2, and although So got some advantage, passive moves eventually did him in.

Up by a pawn, 2-1, with 1 knight each, Carlsen repeated over So to pull ahead, 2-0.

After checking his skid with a draw in game 3, So prevailed with white in games 4 and 6, sandwiching another win by Carlsen in game 5.  They also drew games 7 and 8 before Carlsen cut short the 10-game series by winning the 9th.

Other than the prize, which is paltry as they bagged $45,000 each in the Saint Louis event, So booked to a slot to the next Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour.

En route to the finals, Carlsen overcame a 0-2 deficit to turn back Armenian Levon Aronian, 5.5-2.5.

So, on the other hand, surged ahead, 4.5-1.5, to beat Vietnamese Le Quang Liem, his former Southeast Asian rival, 6-3.

The result was hardly surprising as Carlsen, the first and only man to become world champion in classical, rapid and blitz at the same time, owned an imposing 27.5-9-5 victory over So in the 2017 Speed Chess Championship.

So, however, handed Carlsen a humbling 13.5-2.5 dumping in last year's inaugural staging of the Fischer Random World Championship.

On Wednesday, however, So found himself on the losing side again. – Rappler.com