So crushes Iranian foe, moves to finals of FIDE Grand Prix

Wesley So

Wesley So crushed Iranian Amin Tabatabaei in their semifinal tiebreaker playoff Friday for a 3-1 win and forge a title duel with fellow American Hikaru Nakamura in the FIDE Grand Prix in Berlin, Germany.

After blundering away his winning chances in the second game of their two-game semis duel Thursday that forced the rapid playoff, So made sure there was no repeat.

The two-time United States champion was clinical in the first one that resulted in a 63-move Queen’s Pawn Game and showed resourcefulness in the second in defending Tabatabaei’s desperate attack to hack out a 47-move triumph of a King’s Indian Defense.

The result arranged So an interesting title clash with Nakamura, who made it through with a 3-1 win over a tough Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan in their own match up, Saturday.

Regardless of what happens in the finals, So will finish third overall in the Grand Prixcrace behind winner Nakamura and Hungarian Richard Rapport.

So also fell one slot short at a spot to the Candidates Tournament slated June 16 to July 7 in Madrid, Spain as it went to the top two—Nakamura and Rapport.