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So in peril after falling to Carlsen in Tata Chess Steel Masters

MANILA, Philippines – Is Wesley So ready to challenge reigning world chess champion Magnus Carlsen for the crown? It didn’t look like so.

So lost his way in an endgame battle with Carlsen and absorbed a 75-move defeat of a Queen’s Pawn London System that dealt a big blow to his title bid after 10 rounds of the Tata Chess Steel Masters 2018 in Wijk aan Zee, the Netherlands Wednesday.

GM Wesley So. Philippine Star photo
Playing black, So succeeded in steering the game out of traditional opening theory and equalized early after forcing Carlsen — who is awaiting his challenger for this year’s world title showdown — to move his king early and exposed it for potential attack.

But Carlsen calmly steered away from trouble and pounced on So’s isolated central pawn that he used to will the duel into a winning endgame where the former had four pawns against the latter’s inutile bishop.

The result sent Carlsen into a three-way tie on top alongside Dutch Anish Giri and Azeri Shakhriyar Mamedyarov with seven points apiece while sending So sliding into joint sixth with Russian Vladimir Kramnik with 5.5 points each.

Author: Joey Villar, Philippine Star
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