Wesley So gains ground on Carlsen after round 3

Roy Luarca
Wesley So gains ground on Carlsen after round 3

Photo from FIDE

It's now virtually a two-way race between Magnus Carlsen and Wesley So for the $100,000 top purse

World champion Magnus Carlsen kept his winning form but Wesley So gained ground in the third round of the 2021 Champions Chess Tour Finals on Monday, September 27 (Tuesday, September 28, Manila time).

So, the reigning United States titlist, trounced Russia’s Vladislav Artemiev, 3-1, for the maximum 3 points while Carlsen subdued France’s Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, 1.5-0.5, in the blitz playoffs for 2 points, pushing them farther away from the eight other super Grandmasters competing.

Propped up by bonus points earned in the nine earlier events of the $1.5-million (P75-million) CCT, Carlsen remained comfortably ahead with 23.5 points, 5 ahead on So (18.5), who got derailed by Vachier-Lagrave in the second round.

It’s now virtually a two-way race between Carlsen and So for the $100,000 top purse as third-placed Levon Aronian bowed to Hikaru Nakamura, 1-3, and remained at 12 points.

Touted as a speed chess demon, Nakamura climbed to fourth but is too far to challenge with 10 points.

The Filipino-born So, overall champion of the $1.2-million 2021 Grand Chess Tour, drew the first two rapid games with Artemiev, the 2019 European champion, before winning the pivotal third game.

Playing black, So also was a pawn up in the fourth game when Artemiev conceded the match by offering a draw.

Anish Giri bested Teimour Radjabov, 1.5-0.5, in the blitz playoffs to rise to fifth place at 9.5 points, displacing his victim with 9 points.

So will try to inch closer to Carlsen when he takes on Nakamura in the fourth round.

Other matches pit Carlsen against Artemiev, Radjabov against Duda, Giri against Aronian, and Vachier-Lagrave against Mamedyarov. –