Wesley So faces world champ Magnus Carlsen in Opera Euro Rapid chess finals

Published February 13, 2021, 1:46 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

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

Grandmaster Wesley So made short work of Azerbaijan’s Teimour Radjabov to set up a title rematch with reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen in the Opera Euro Rapid of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Saturday, Feb. 13.

The 27-year-old So, who took the first of two four-match semifinal matches last Friday, 2.5-1.5, needed just three games to eliminate Radjabov, 2-1, and advance to the finals against Carlsen on Sunday.

Carlsen survived an upset-conscious Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France by winning the deciding Armageddon playoff for the anticipated thrilling showdown with So.

So, the world Fischer Random and two-time United States champion, eyes a repeat performance over Carlsen where the Cavite-born player won their title duel in the Skilling Open last December.

And it looked like So is the favorite to win the US$30,000 pot as he has displayed the better form compared to Carlsen.

After earning the third seed at the end of the preliminaries, So overpowered Jan-Krzysztof Duda of Poland, 4.5-1.5, in the quarters before edging Radjabov with the same score in the semis.

Meanwhile, Carlsen struggled, needing a pair of Armageddon playoffs in turning back Russian rising star Daniil Dubov and Vachier-Lagrave.