WESLEY So may not be a world chess champion just yet. But beating the best in the planet twice in a three-day span is the closest thing to becoming one.
The Cavite-born Mr. So gave a glimpse of his oozing potential to be a world titlist as he downed world classical king Magnus Carlsen in their Armageddon tie-breaker on Thursday to stay in the Norway Chess tournament title hunt in Stavanger.
The world Fischer-Random titlist and two-time US champion capitalized on a time-starved Mr. Carlsen in launching a mating net that saw the latter scampering for safety under heavy fire of the Queen’s constant probing.
When Mr. Carlsen eventually resigned, Mr. So was a few moves from snaring the Norwegian’s queen.
“First of all, I’m not sure if Magnus (Carlsen) wants to go for the win in classical play. But I used an opening line that can possibly work against Magnus (Carlsen),” said Mr. So.
It was the second time that Mr. So had pulled the rug from under Mr. Carlsen with the first one coming on Tuesday during the Norway Chess blitz section that the former topped.
After two rounds, Mr. So, who smashed Teimour Radjabov in the opening round Wednesday, was at No. 2 with 4.5 points.
Former world champion Vishwanathan Anand of India zoomed to the top after besting Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France and Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria in the first two rounds with six points.
This nine-round meet uses a format that gives three points for an outright win in the standard play and 1.5 for the winner via Armageddon playoff. — Joey Villar