Wesley So joins first leg of $1.5M Champions Tour

Roy Luarca

WINNING WAYS. Wesley So aims to pick up another title after ruling the US Open.

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Wesley So hopes to extend his winning run in another online chess tournament pitting 16 of the world's elite Grandmasters

After a second US Open crown and a convincing win over a teen sensation, Wesley So is having a blast and wants to prolong it.

So is joining the Skilling Open, the first leg of the $1.5 million (P72 million) Champions Chess Tour, set November 22-30 with 16 of the world’s elite Grandmasters competing.

Wielding sharp form once more, So, the Philippines’ top player before switching to the US Federation, posted an impressive 7 wins and 4 draws to regain the national title he last held in 2017.

Then on November 8, So trounced Uzbek Nodirbek Abdusattorov, 18-10, to advance to the quarterfinals of the ongoing Elite Speed Chess Championship.

The 27-year-old So, once the youngest player to break the 2600 Elo barrier at 16, will be facing the winner of the November 15 match between world No. 2 and fellow Team USA stalwart Fabiano Caruana and Poland No. 1 Jan Krzysztof Duda. 

Apart from So, board 3 gold medalist of the 2016 Baku Chess Olympiad ruled by Team USA, other super Grandmasters who have confirmed participation in the $100,000 (P4.8 million) event are world No. 3 Ding Liren of China, No. 6 Levon Aronian of Armenia and No. 10 Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan.

Also in the roster are Vietnamese Le Quang Liem, the 2013 world blitz champion, Russian Sergey Karjakin, and Spanish champion David Anton Guijarro.

The remaining 9 players will be named soon, with world champion Magnus Carlsen likely to participate as well because the 10-event Champions Chess Tour is being staged in partnership with the Play Magnus Group.

Tipped to contend for the title with So are Ding, the highest-rated Chinese player ever (Elo 2791), and Aronian, the Wide World Cup winner in 2005 and 2017. –

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