Wesley So gives Magnus Carlsen a Valentine’s Day heartbreak in Opera Euro Rapid finals

Published February 15, 2021, 11:47 AM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

wesley so magnus carlsen
Grandmasters Wesley So and Magnus Carlsen, reigning world champion, share the 2020 Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz title. (Fischer Random / Nick Barton. File)

United States superstar Wesley So dealt world champion Magnus Carlsen another sound beating to rule the US$100,000 (P5 million) Euro Opera Rapid of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Monday.

Tied at 2-all going into the last of their two-set, four-game finale, So went for the kill and pulled off a 2.5-1.5 win on a victory and three draws in the final day to claim his second title in the tour and the US$30,000 (P1.5 million) purse that went with it.

Interestingly, both titles came at the expense Carlsen, the reigning world blitz, rapid and standard champion whom he also trounced in the Skilling Open in December last year.

The recent feat catapulted the world Fischer-Random and two-time US champion to the top of the tour leaderboard with 108 points and a current earnings of $70,000 (P3.5 million) ahead of Azerbaijan’s Teimour Radjabov and Carlsen.

Most importantly, the result could be a reflection on So’s readiness to challenge for the world title in the near future.

“It’s big, it’s totally unexpected to beat Magnus in any matches. It’s a huge honor and a real pleasure to do so,” said So in an interview with the tournament website, championschesstour.com.

“Just playing him already gives me a lot of experience and beating him twice in a match is just unheard of.”

Carlsen later lamented on failing to cash in on his chances.

“I’m a bit frustrated again today (Monday),” said Carlsen.

“Losing to Wesley is okay, he clearly had the most convincing tournament coming into today. But I do feel like I missed a lot of chances, that’s the frustrating part.”

So later on thanked his supporters in a social media post.

“All I can say is … First, thank you to the chess fans who watched… Filipinos, Indians, Norwegians, Chinese, Africans, Russians, Americans and on and on….. A startling moment for me to win this event and have all of you sort of there, nervous along with me,” he wrote.

“Chess is life … one day you are up, one day you are down, so I will enjoy this UP moment and start by giving thanks! To my Lord and Savior, AMDG.”