Titans clash: So, Carlsen in grudge rematch for semis
The one man that stands in the way of Wesley So and a place in the Lindores Abbey Rapid Chess Challenge semifinals is the World No. 1 who has a big ax to grind against the Philippine-born star.
Norway’s Magnus Carlsen is the reigning world champion in standard, rapid and blitz who late last year suffered what he termed was an embarrassing defeat at the hands of the Fil-American grandmaster.
So Carlsen, his sport’s acknowledged rock star because of his looks, charisma and playing style, will be going all out to claim So’s scalp and avenge what he said he was a loss he was “deeply ashamed” of.
So bested Carlsen in the World Fischer Random Chess Championships right in his homeland in Oslo.
Now they cross paths again, albeit online, in a royal rumble among the sport’s 12 elite players designed to cut around the restrictions of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Carlsen rallied from the brink of elimination and nailed a slot in the Final 8 by beating 16-year-old Iranian prodigy Alireza Firouzja in the 11th and final round of the preliminary last Friday.
So and Carlsen begin their knockout matches on Sunday night (Manila time) for a place in the semis.
The 26-year-old So, who started donning the American colors in 2014, is currently World No. 8. He finished tied for third to sixth after the preliminaries of the $150,000-tournament.
Born in Cavite province where he started his love affair with chess playing in parks, So represented the United States in the 42nd Chess Olympiad on Board 3, winning the gold medal.
Carlsen, 29, has been World No. 1 for more than 10 years, holding the top spot the longest since the legendary Garry Kasparov.
The meet is the second of the Magnus Carlsen Tour and rewards $45,000 to the champion plus a spot in the Tour Grand Final in August worth $300,000.
American Hikaru Nakamura edged Levon Aronian of Armenia, 3-2, in their quarterfinal matchup. INQ