Wesley So, Magnus Carlsen dispute CCT Finals crown, $200,000

Roy Luarca

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Wesley So, Magnus Carlsen dispute CCT Finals crown, $200,000

MOVE. Wesley So in action in the 2023 Champions Chess Tour Finals.

Champions Chess Tour Twitter page

Wesley So sees off Nodirbek Abdusattorov to set up a title clash with world No. 1 Magnus Carlsen for the Champions Chess Tour Finals

MANILA, Philippines – Wesley So won over Nodirbek Abdusattorov in the tiebreaker on Thursday, December 14 (Friday, December 15, Manila time) to forge a title clash with world No. 1 Magnus Carlsen in the 2023 Champions Chess Tour Finals at the 1 Hotel in Toronto, Canada.

The Bacoor, Cavite-born So sealed the outcome by taking Abdusattorov’s knight with his queen, forcing the Uzbek sensation to resign as the three-time United States champion proceeded to promote his pawn to a new queen and go one bishop and one pawn up.

It was a strong rebound for So, who dropped the first set, 1.5-2.5, of his semifinal tussle with Abdusattorov, the 2021 world rapid champion, before taking the second set, 2.5-1.5, and forcing the third set consisting of two rapid games.

Both were drawn, necessitating the Armageddon, where So had 15 minutes with white but had to beat Abdusattorov, who only needed a draw to barge into the Finals.

Carlsen took only two sets to dispose of world No. 2 Fabiano Caruana in the other semifinal match and stay on track for a third straight title in the event concluding the $2 million (nearly P111.5 million) 2023 CCT circuit.

After back-to-back draws, Carlsen went ahead with a victory in Game 3, only to be stifled by Caruana in Game 4. Carlsen, who reigned as world champion for a decade before vacating it in 2022, prevailed in the Armageddon.

Although he bested Carlsen in the fifth round of the round-robin stage, So remained wary of the legendary Norwegian, currently the highest-rated player in classical and blitz, and second in rapid.

So and Carlsen will dispute the $200,000 (over P11.1 million) top purse on Saturday, December 16, with the loser settling for $100,000 (nearly P5.6 million). –

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