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MANILA, Philippines – Wesley So yielded to Hikaru Nakamura in their rapid playoffs on Sunday, May 26 (Monday, May 27, Manila time) in their battle for the 2023 American Cup crown at the Saint Louis Chess Club in Missouri.
The Philippine-born So blundered in the third game and blew his title bid as they drew the three other rapid games.
It was a big disappointment for So, a three-time United States champion, as he earlier trounced Nakamura in their first grand finals on Sunday to force a third meeting with the five-time US champion.
Nakamura, the reigning World Fischer Random Chess champion, enjoyed the twice-to-beat advantage for earlier beating So in the winner’s bracket of the double-round elimination tournament featuring the top eight American players.
So got relegated to the losers’ bracket finals, where he trounced Levon Aronian to earn the rematch with Nakamura, the game’s top Twitch streamer.
Nakamura pocketed the champion’s purse of $50,000 (about P2.7 million), while So settled for the runner-up purse of $35,000 (nearly P1.9 million).
According to Nakamura, he just tried to bury the memory of that loss to So in the first finals match by drinking beer and playing pool.
“I guess it worked,” said Nakamura in the post-match interview.
So, the current FIDE Circuit points leader, failed to duplicate his triumphant run in last month’s Armageddon Championship Series where he bested Sam Shankland for the title. – Rappler.com