Wesley So expected to see action in biggest chess series

Published December 22, 2022, 2:35 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

Grandmaster Wesley So will try to reach for the stars as he is expected to see action when the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour and the Chess.com Global Championships come together next year to form one unified and massive chess series.

The 29-year-old So will have more reason to earn another shot at becoming the tour champion as the huge meet kicking off on Feb. 6 next year will have a combined prize pool worth $2 million (P110.3 million), the largest in Chess.com’s event history.

While Magnus Carlsen, the reigning world classical king and back-to-back Meltwater CCT champion, will top bill the event that will be spread to six qualifying tournaments the whole of 2023, So should make the cut and get his chance pocketing a big share of the rich purse.

Next to Carlsen, So has been the tour’s top performer having finished runner up two years in a row including last November when he wound up distant No. 2 to the former in the eight-man finale.

It was the same story the year before as So wound up second in a 10-player field that also included world top 10 players like Levon Aronian and Hikaru Nakamura also of the US.

While the venues of the six events leading to the finals have yet to be announced, organizers have set the dates in February, April, May, July, August and early September and late in the same month.

The two companies are working together to combine the best features of both competitions. This new event will be massive, with a cohesive year-long schedule and the biggest prize fund in online chess history.

“We are extremely proud of everything that the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour has accomplished over the last years for our fans, players, and partners around the world,” said Arne Horvei, Tour Director for the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour. “We look forward to combining our efforts with Chess.com’s in order to create the most compelling and innovative chess events yet.”

“I’m very excited about this new series and what it means for the future of professional chess competition,” said Michael Brancato, Chess.com’s Vice President of Esports. “With a modernized format, clearer scheduling, and the opportunity for anyone to qualify and play in the championship, this event will be a massive step forward for competitive chess.”