Two-time United States champion Wesley So dropped the first of two playoff matches to Azerbaijan’s Teimour Radjabov that pushed him on the brink of elimination in the Skilling Open of the Champions Chess Tour Thursday.
The 27-year-old So lost the first and second of the four games while drawing the third to seal their first quarterfinal duel.
The score ended at 2.5-0.5 in favor of Radjabov as the fourth and last game was never played.
So would need to win the second four-game match on Friday to have a chance at advancing in the semifinals against either France’s Maxime Vachier-Lagrave or the US teammate Hikaru Nakamura.
Vachier-Lagrave took their first showdown, 2.5-1.5.
Other results saw reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen beating Dutch Anish Giri, 2.5-1.5, and Armenian Levon Aronian coming back to edge Russiamn Ian Nepomniachtchi, 2.5-1.5.