Carlsen wins SuperUnited Rapid and Blitz Croatia, So tumbles to 4th

Roy Luarca

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Carlsen wins SuperUnited Rapid and Blitz Croatia, So tumbles to 4th

POLE POSITION. Wesley So still retains the overall lead in the Grand Chess Tour.


World champion Magnus Carlsen rules the third stage of the Grand Chess Tour as Wesley So falls short of his comeback bid with a pair of untimely losses

MANILA, Philippines – World champion Magnus Calsen zoomed ahead beyond reach while two-time United States titlist Wesley So faltered in the homestretch of the 2022 SuperUnited Rapid and Blitz Croatia on Sunday, July 24 (Monday, July 25, Philippine time) at the Westin Hotel in Zagreb.

Way ahead after the sixth round, Carlsen had the luxury of dropping his last three games to Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Alireza Firouzja, and Ivan Saric and still clinching the top purse of $40,000 in the event serving as the third stage of the 2022 Grand Chess Tour (GCT).

Counting his 11 points in the rapid segment, 7 points in the first half of the blitz segment and 4.5 in the second blitz segment, Carlsen pooled 22.5 points to weather the rallies waged by Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Firouzja, who overtook So in the final standings.

Firouza closed out with five straight victories to tally 22 points, the same total posted by Vachier-Lagrave, who topped the second blitz segment with 8 points on seven wins and two draws.

The Bacoor, Cavite-born So, was in hot pursuit after posting back-to-back wins against former world champion Veselin Topalov and Ivan Saric, only to stumble with a loss against Leinier Dominguez, a draw against Vachier-Lagrave, and another loss to world title contender Ian Nepomniachtchi.

Both So and Nepomniachtchi wound up with 21 points and pocketed $17,500 each.

Jorden Van Foreest, the pacesetter after the rapid segment, placed sixth with 19 points.

If any consolation, So kept the overall lead in the GCT with 22.5 points, following his joint second-place effort in the first stage won by Vachier-Lagrave held in Bucharest, Romania, and fifth-place finish in the Warsaw, Poland second stage ruled by Jan-Krzystof Duda.

So is expected to bounce back in the Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz to be held in August in Saint Louis, Missouri and prop up his bid to retain overall supremacy in the $1.4 million (P78.7 million) GCT. –

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