GM Wesley So slips to second after two-day blitz event in Saint Louis tourney

Published September 19, 2020, 2:40 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

Magnus Carlsen takes solo lead
wesley so magnus carlsen
GM Wesley So and GM Magnus Carlsen (Fischer Random / Nick Barton / File Photo)

Grandmaster Wesley So ran into trouble in the first of the two-day blitz part of the 2020 Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz tournament to slip from first to second and allow reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen to retake the solo lead Friday.

The 26-year-old So scored just five points out of a possible nine as he was stymied by a shock first-round defeat to 19-year-old Jeffrey Xiong of the United States.

Xiong, who once defeated Carlsen early this year, trained under Filipino Grandmaster and University of Texas-Dallas coach Julio Catalino Sadorra for two years in 2013 to 2015.

So was tied for third with Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi in Day One of blitz behind Carlsen with 6.5 points and Hikaru Nakamura of the United States with 5.5.

But thanks to the Cavite-born chesser’s first-place performance in the rapid phase the first three days, So was not that far from Carlsen, who currently has 18.5 points or just a point ahead of the former.

So, at second, currently has a big lead and three points ahead of No. 3 Nepomniachtchi with 15.

The final day, which will be another nine games, of this five-day tournament staking US $250,000 (P12.5 million) is being played at press time.