So faces Carlsen, Nakamura in Clutch Chess International
MANILA, Philippines – After ruling the inaugural Clutch Chess Champions Showdown, Wesley So will be up against a bigger, stronger field in the follow-up Clutch Chess International slated June 6-14.
World champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway, world No. 5 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France, No. 6 Alexander Grischuk of Russia and No. 7 Levon Aronian of Armenia have been invited to challenge So, the world No. 8.
Returning are So’s fellow United States team members Fabiano Caruana, world No. 2 and runner-up to the Filipino-born player, No. 14 Leinier Domingues and No. 18 Hikaru Nakamura.
The success of the Champions Showdown, held May 26-29, prompted the organizing St Louis Chess Club to hold a second edition of the online tournament using a new format conceptualized by Grandmaster Maurice Ashley.
“We’re thrilled with how the first Clutch Chess tournament went and are excited for the upcoming Clutch Chess International scheduled for June 6-14, 2020 and expanding to an international field with 8 players,” said Tony Rich, executive director of St Louis Chess Club, in a tournament report.
So, who traces his roots in Cavite, edged Caruana via tiebreak to become the first champion of the online event and bag the $30,000 top purse. So pocketed another $10,000 for his wins in the clutch games. (READ: Wesley So clinches Clutch Chess title, P1.5M)
Clutch Chess has a 10-minute playing time and 5 seconds increment. Its unique feature is the 5th and 6th games are valued at 2 points and the concluding 11th and 12th games valued at 3 points, giving trailing players the opportunity to overhaul a big deficit.
After losing to So in the Champions Showdown semifinals, Nakamura came from behind to stun Carlsen in the Round of 4 and advance to the finals of the ongoing Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge opposite Russian Daniil Dubov.
Nakamura bowed to Carlsen on Day 1 of the semifinals, 0-3, but topped Day 2, 2.5-1.5, to force the Day 3 decider, where they played to a 2-2 draw. Nakamura prevailed after a rare Carlsen blunder in the Armageddon tiebreaker.
Dubov and Nakamura will dispute the $45,000 top purse on June 1-3. – Rappler.com