Wesley So drops first Aimchess US Rapid quarterfinal match

Roy Luarca
Wesley So drops first Aimchess US Rapid quarterfinal match

IN PERIL. Wesley So is in danger of missing the Aimchess Final Four.


Admitting it was a 'bad day,' Wesley So yields to 18-year-old Alireza Firouzja in the first set of their quarterfinal tussle

For the fourth straight day, Wesley So lost his first game. 

For the first three, the reigning United States champion was able to recover.

On Tuesday, August 31 (Wednesday, September 1, Philippine time), he couldn’t and yielded to Alireza Firouzja, 0.5-2.5, in the first set of their quarterfinal tussle in the Aimchess US Rapid online.

World champion Magnus Carlsen trounced 2021 World Cup titlist Jan-Krzysztof Duda, 2.5-0.5, while Levon Aronian subdued Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, 3-1, in other decisive mini-matches of the $100,000 event serving as the ninth regular leg of the 2021 Champions Chess Tour.

Top qualifier Vladislav Artemiev needed to win on demand to tie Leinier Dominguez, 2-2, and make their second 4-game match on Friday a winner-take-all affair.

The Cavite-born So could have drawn game 1 by exchanging queens but opted to go for the win and paid the price in his Nimzo Indian encounter with the 18-year-old Firouzja.

Playing listlessly with white in a Queen’s Gambit Declined, So gave up two pawns and paved the way for another victory by Firouzja in game 2.

Game 3 ended in a draw, giving Firouzja match 1. All the Iranian-born French sensation needs is a 2-2 draw in match 2 to oust So, the CCT’s only three-leg winner and overall champion of the 2021 Grand Chess Tour.

During the post-match interview, So admitted it was a “bad day” for him but remained hopeful he could bounce back in match 2 and force the blitz playoffs.

Carlsen, who is seeking revenge on Duda who ended his record 125-game unbeaten run last year and ousted him from the World Cup semifinals, prevailed in games 1 and 3 and forged a draw in the second.

After trading wins with Mamedyarov in games 1 and 2, Aronian pulled off victories in the next two to inch closer toward the semifinals. –

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