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MANILA, Philippines – Wesley So suffered a lopsided loss to Magnus Carlsen, 22-7, on Wednesday, September 20, in the 2023 Speed Chess Championship semifinal round.
Carlsen thus became the first finalist of the online, three-segment $150,000 event.
The reigning world blitz champion will wait for the winner between Hikaru Nakamura, who has won the last five editions of the annual tournament, and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the other semifinal.
Like Carlsen, Nakamura is the solid favorite to dispose of Vachier-Lagrave, his victim in the 2020 finals that ended 18.5-12.5.
Although the Filipino-born So was the clear underdog, the Team USA mainstay was expected to give Carlsen a stronger fight, especially in the 5 minute + 1 second segment.
After yielding the 5+1 via a score of 6.5, however, it was all downhill for So, including a string of seven losses and an 8-1 result in the 3+1 segment.
So managed to eke out his first win over Carlsen in the bullet segment that ended 7.5-3.5.
According to statistics, So posted a 90% accuracy throughout the match, Carlsen, however, played on another level with a 93% accuracy.
It was revenge time for Carlsen, the longtime world champion who relinquished his title this year after geting humbled by So, 13.5-2.5, before his countrymen in Norway in 2019 during the First World Fischer Random Chess Championship finals. – Rappler.com