Wesley So barges into quarters of Aimchess US Rapid

Published August 31, 2021, 12:33 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

MB File Photo

Grandmaster Wesley So dismantled Netherlands’ Jorden van Foreest to barge into the quarterfinals of the Aimchess US Rapid of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Tuesday, August 31.

So prevailed after 35 moves of a Nimzo-Indian Defense in the 15th and last round to finish the preliminaries with nine points, enough to seal the No. 5 seeding going to the next phase.

His seeding arranged him a playoff showdown with fourth seed Alireza Firouzja of France, who finished the prelims with 9.5 points.

So hopes to do better in the two-day knockout phase after struggling in the prelims where he had six wins and six draws to make up for three defeats.

Two of those setbacks came at the hands of Russian Vladislav Artemiev and world classical titlist Magnus Carlsen, who ended up first and second with 10.5 and 10 points, respectively.

Artemiev will battle American Leinier Dominguez Perez, who edged out Dutch Anish Giri via tiebreak to claim the eighth and last quarters seat, while Carlsen tackles No. 7 Polish Jan-Krzysztof Duda.

The other pairing pits No. 3 Levon Aronian of Armenia against No. 6 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan.

Whatever happens in this edition, which stakes $100,000 in cash pot including $30,000 to the winner, So have already qualified to the grand finale set Sept. 25.

The Cavite-born American is currently second overall in the Tour following wins in the Skilling Open, Opera Euro Rapid and Chessable Masters.