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Off-form So yields to Radjabov in match 1; Carlsen, Aronian up

An off-form Wesley So bowed to Teimour Radjabov, 0.5-2.5, on Thursday, November 26, Philippine time and found himself in a must-win situation against the Azerbaijani in the Skilling Open quarterfinals.

So lost the first game, drew the second, and yielded the third to hand the first match to Radjabov, the 2019 FIDE World Cup champion.

It was supposed to be a four-game match but got shortened because So can no longer catch up with Radjabov, who withdrew from the suspended Candidates 2020, even if he wins game 4.

Their second match, which will also be for 4 games, will be held Friday.

If So, formerly the Philippines' top player before switching to the US federation in 2014, recovers and gets back at  Radjabov, there will be a two-blitz game playoff. If the score remains tied an Armageddon will decide who will advance to the semifinals.

Other quarterfinal matches saw world champion Magnus Carlsen beat Anish Giri, 2.5-1.5, Levon Aronian subdues Ian Nepomniachtchi, 2.5-1.5, and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave tames Hikaru Nakamura, 2.5-1.5.

Just like  Radjabov, Carlsen, Aronian, and  Vachier-Lagrave need only to draw match 2 to advance to the semifinals of the online event serving as kickoff leg of the $1.5 million (P72 million) Champions Chess Tour.

The losing quarterfinalists are assured of $5,000 each while the semifinalists will pocket at least $7,500. – Rappler.com