So, Carlsen pace Clutch Chess International
MANILA Philippines – Inaugural winner Wesley So struck in the last 3 games while world champion Magnus Carlsen started hot to lead their quarterfinal opponents in the $265,000 (P13.25 million) Clutch Chess International on Saturday, June 6 (Sunday, June 7, Philippine time).
Settling for 3 straight draws with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France, the Filipino-born So applied more pressure and won the fourth and the clutch fifth game with a kingside pawn storm.
They drew the sixth game, giving So a 5.5-2.5 advantage going to the remaining 6 games of their knockout online match. (READ: Wesley So clinches Clutch Chess title, P1.5M)
Top seed Carlsen clinched the first 3 games against Jeffery Xiong, but the 19-year-old 2016 World Junior champion halted the rampage with a draw in the fourth.
Xiong, inserted into the roster after Hikaru Nakamura decided to withdraw, then pounced on a 20th move mistake by Carlsen in the fifth game before forcing another draw in the sixth to narrow the gap, 3.5-4.5, after the first half of their own knockout match.
The other quarterfinal matches pitting Russian Alexander Grischuk against Armenian Levon Aronian and Fabiano Caruana against Leinier Dominguez start on Sunday.
Caruana, who plays top board for the United States, is favored to repeat his lopsided 15-3 conquest of Dominguez in the first Clutch Chess Champions Showdown won by So at his expense last week.
In contrast, Grischuk-Aronian should be a tossup as they are ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, in the elite 8-man field.
Seeded only seventh, So needs only a win in the first 4 games and draws in the clutch 11th and 12th games against Vachier-Lagrave on Monday to advance to the semifinal round.
Game 5 and Game 6 are worth 2 points each plus a bonus of $2,000, while Games 11 and 12 are worth 3 points plus a bonus of $3,000 under the novel format created by Grandmaster Maurice Ashley. – Rappler.com