Aronian ousts So, tackles Carlsen in New In Chess Classic semis

Levon Aronian ousted Wesley So and advanced to the semifinals against world champion Magnus Carlsen in the New In Chess Classic on Wednesday, April 28 (Thursday, April 29, Philippine time).

The other semifinal playoffs of the $100,000 event serving as the fifth leg of the Champions Chess Tour pits Hikaru Nakamura against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

Showing the form that made him world champion in both rapid (2009) and blitz (2010), the 38-year-Aronian thwarted So's breakthrough attempts in the first two games then prevailed in the third to cut short their quarterfinals duel, 2-1.

Aronian also won their first match, 3-1, on Wednesday for a 2-0 score over So, the reigning United States champion.

Aronian, Armenia's top player, is now with Team USA along with So, Nakamura, Leinier Dominguez, and Fabiano Caruana.

Though he made the round of 8 for the fifth straight time, the Cavite-born So, winner of the Skilling Open and Opera Euro Rapid, is bound to yield the overall Tour leadership to Carlsen, who bested Teimour Radjabov, 2.5-1.5, on Thursday. 

Carlsen and Radjabov played to a 2-2 draw on Wednesday.

Carlsen stretched his unbeaten run to 23 games since topping the elimination round while Nakamura, who shut the door on Le Quang Liem with a 2-1 lead on Thursday, remained unscathed after 22.

Renowned for his speed chess prowess, Nakamura beat Le, 2.5-1.5, on Wednesday.

Mamedyarov, the 2013 world rapid champion, trounced teen sensation Alireza Firouzja, 3-1, and 2.5-0.5, respectively, to forge his first semifinals stint in the 10-tournament Tour. –