Chess

Wesley So inches closer to Carlsen, top Chess Tour spot

Roy Luarca
Wesley So inches closer to Carlsen, top Chess Tour spot

TOUGH RACE. Wesley So aims to dislodge Magnus Carlsen on top.

Chess.com

Wesley So is deemed the only bet with a decent chance of surpassing world No. 1 Magnus Carlsen in the race for the Champions Chess Tour Finals crown

Wesley So bungled a chance to threaten Magnus Carlsen but at least got closer to the top spot in the 2021 Champions Chess Tour (CCT) Finals on Tuesday, September 28 (Wednesday, September 29, Philippine time).

Carlsen, the longtime world champion, unexpectedly lost in lopsided fashion to Vladislav Artemiev, 1-3, for 0 points in the fourth round giving So the opportunity to move closer following a 2-2 draw with Hikaru Nakamura after the rapid matches.

Showing why he’s known as the speed chess demon, however, Nakamura trounced So in the blitz playoffs, 2-0, limiting the reigning United States champion to just 1 point.

Despite his first defeat, Carlsen remained on top with 23.5 points, 4 ahead of So (19.5) who is deemed the only bet with a decent chance of surpassing him in the race for the $100,000 (P5 million) top purse.

A distant third was Levon Aronian, who rebounded from a third-round setback to Nakamura with a 3-1 thrashing of Anish Giri for 15 points.

Nakamura tallied 12 points and climbed to joint fourth with Teimour Radjabov, a 2.5-1.5 victor over cellar-dweller Jan-Krzysztof Duda (5 points).

Humbled by Aronian from games 2 to 4, Giri stayed at 9.5 points, towing 8.5-pointers Artemiev and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, who yielded to Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, 1.5-2.5.

The Bacoor, Cavite-born So, overall champion of the 2021 Grand Chess Tour, needs to beat Giri in the fifth round to gain ground or keep pace with Carlsen, the current leader of the 2021 CCT standings in both points and earnings.

Carlsen will tangle with Nakamura while the other matches pit Aronian against Radjabov, Artemiev against Mamedyarov, and Vachier-Lagrave against Duda. – Rappler.com