Carlsen virtual CCT champion as Radjabov tames Wesley So

Roy Luarca
Carlsen virtual CCT champion as Radjabov tames Wesley So

TOUGH LUCK. Wesley So hopes to revive his faint chance of winning the Champions Chess Tour.

Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour

‘Obviously, I'm not playing at my best right now... Things haven't really been going my way,’ says Wesley So

Magnus Carlsen won and Wesley So lost.

As a result, the world champion is on the threshold of ruling the 2021 Champions Chess Tour (CCT) Finals before it is over.

Carlsen bested Anish Giri in the blitz playoff, 1.5-0.5, on Friday, October 1 (Saturday, October 2, Philippine time) to raise his total to 28.5 points and pull away from So, who got stuck at 21.5 following a 1-3 beating in the rapid section from Teimour Radjabov.

So now needs to sweep his last three matches, including his ninth round tussle against Carlsen, to revive his faint chances for the $100,000 (P5 million) top purse.

Even if So, pride of Bacoor, Cavite, prevails over Levon Aronian in the seventh round, Jan Krzysztof-Duda in the eighth, and Carlsen, however, his effort would fall short if the Norwegian icon manages to beat either Radjabov in round 7 or Aronian in round 8 in the rapid section.

“Obviously, I’m not playing at my best right now… Things haven’t really been going my way,” said a dejected So. 

“There are three matches left, and it’s going to be a tough three matches. I’ve got to remain sharp, play better chess and someone’s got to beat Magnus in order to catch him.”

Owing to his victory over So, Radjabov got the full 3 points and vaulted to 18 points, putting himself in position to dislodge the reigning United States champion at the second spot.

Aronian was in the fourth spot with 15 points, followed by Nakamura with 14 and Artemiev with 13.5.

Other sixth rounds results saw Aronian miss a mate-in-1 in rapid game 1 and bow to Duda, 1-3;  Hikaru Nakamura trip Shakhriyar Mamedyarov via Armageddon, and Vladislav Artemiev tame Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the blitz playoff, 1.5-0.5.

Radjabov’s other opponents are Mamedyarov in the eighth round and Vachier-Lagrave in the ninth.

Also slated in the seventh round on Sunday are Duda against Artemiev, Vachier-Lagrave against Nakamura, and Mamedyarov against Giri. –