Magnus Carlsen takes 1st set over Wesley So, nears CCT Finals crown

Roy Luarca

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Magnus Carlsen takes 1st set over Wesley So, nears CCT Finals crown

BACK ON BOARD. Wesley So returns to action after a banner 2021 campaign.


Wesley So drops the opening set of his Champions Chess Tour Finals clash with world No. 1 Magnus Carlsen

MANILA, Philippines – World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen squeezed out a win over Wesley So in the third game to take the first set of their 2023 Champions Chess Tour Finals tussle on Friday, December 15 (Saturday, December 16, Manila time), at the 1 Hotel in Toronto, Canada.

Held to back-to-back draws by the Bacoor, Cavite-born So, Carlsen finally extracted the full point with black pieces against the time-troubled American in a Sicilian Game 3.

So tried to rebound in Game 4, gaining some chances with a bishop pair, but Carlsen ably reduced the pieces and turned it into opposite-colored bishops endgame to inch closer to his third straight title in the $500,000 (over P27.9 million) tournament.

The second set will be held on Saturday, with So in a must-win situation and Carlsen needing only to draw to bag the $200,000 (over P11.1 million) champion’s purse.

If So manages to equalize, the Finals go to a two-game third set. In case of another tie, Armageddon would determine this year’s winner of the concluding event of the $2 million (over P111.7 million) 2023 CCT circuit.

So also got into a similar situation against Nodirbek Abdusattorv when he dropped the first set of their semifinal tussle. The first Global Chess champion bounced back in the second set, then bested the Uzbek sensation in the third set to advance against Carlsen.

Of course, Carlsen is stronger being the world classical champion until 2022 when he opted not to defend it.

Also, Carlsen holds a 31-17 edge over So in rapid play, with 19 of their games ending in draws.

So pointed at the third game for his undoing in the first set.

“It’s kind of inexcusable to lose a white game in a short match,” lamented So in the tournament report. –

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