Magnus Carlsen beats Wesley So to win world's first bitcoin chess tourney

Published June 1, 2021, 1:50 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

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Grandmaster Wesley So failed to cash in on his chances and succumbed to Magnus Carlsen in the finals of the FTX Crypto Cup of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Tuesday, June 1.

Playing white and needing just a draw to win the title following a 1-0 lead in the tiebreak, So lost his momentum that had Carlsen extending the matchup to a deciding game and eventually the crown, 2-1.

The two posted identical 2-2 draws in their two-set finale, forcing an Armageddon.

It was Carlsen’s second straight crown following his victorious campaign at the New in Chess Classic last month.

It also prevented a third title defeat for Carlsen to So, who prevailed in their previous championship duels in the Skilling Open in November and the Opera Euro Rapid in February.

Carlsen, the world classical champion, earned 86 points, $60,000 and 0.60 bitcoin equivalent to $20,000 to keep his overall lead in the Tour with 271 total Tour points and $155,000 total earnings.

The Cavite-born So, who settled for the $50,000 runner-up purse, remains second in the overall standings with 203 Tour points and $130,000 total earnings.

“OK, I didn’t win, but I’m not unhappy with second place to Magnus,” said So in a Facebook post.

“It was a great tournament and I have hopes to do better next time.”

Up next for So will be an over-the-board tournament for the Grand Chess Tour in Bucharest, Romania and Paris, France.

Meanwhile, Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia turned back Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan, 2.5-1.5, to claim third spot.