Wesley So beats top Polish player, secures semis slot in Speed Chess

Published November 22, 2020, 1:08 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

Grandmaster Wesley So overcame a faulty start and demolished Jan-Krzysztof Duda of Poland, 16-10, to advance to the semifinals of 2020 Speed Chess Championships over the weekend.

So, a two-time United States champion, encountered some trouble at the start as he trailed 4-2 behind Duda.

But the Cavite-born native calmed down and knotted the count at 4-all at the end of the first phase (five minutes with one second time control) before dominating the second phase (3+1), 8-1, to pull away.

“I just try to move on and forget about the past. I took a deep breath and tried to play solidly,” said So during the post-match interview.

But unlike in their past encounter when So annihilated Duda, 20-7, in the 2018 Elite Speed Chess edition including 9-1 in bullet, the Polish No. 1 showed improvement especially in faster time control.

And So noticed.

“He has improved a lot, very stable in unclear positions,” said So of Duda.

The win arranged So a meeting with the winner between defending champion Hikaru Nakamura of the US and Vladimir Fedoseev of Russia in the semis for a chance at the bigger chunk of the total purse worth US$100,000 (P4.8 million).