BREAKING NEWS: Wesley So upsets Magnus Carlsen in Skilling Open, leads Champions Chess Tour

HSBC Philippines
Wesley So won the Skilling Open
Wesley So won against the world champion in the first leg of the Champions Chess Tour. Photo from chess24.

BREAKING NEWS: Wesley So has won the Skilling Open, delivering a blow to the nearly-always unbeatable world champion Magnus Carlsen and now leads the Champions Chess Tour.

The 27-year-old Filipino Grandmaster representing the United States bested the 30-year-old Carlsen of Norway in the two-day Skilling Open finals blitz games which wrapped up on December 1, 2020 (Philippine time) after 9 days of the first leg of the tournament between the world’s best chess players.

The decisive Day 2 matches following the tied games on Day 1 had Carlsen winning the first game but bowing to So in the next two games, giving the Skilling Open champion title to the Filipino American grandmaster.

Wesley So’s 1st place finish earned him the $30,000 prize money and the top rank in the $1.5 million Champions Chess Tour with 46 points (40 pts from 1st place win, 6 pts for 3rd place finish in preliminaries), 16 points ahead of Carlsen.

Here are the current standings of the 16-player Champions Chess Tour:

Wesley So won the Skilling Open
Champions Chess Tour Standings

Staying true to his humble persona and respectful stance before the world champion, Wesley So said:

“I have to apologize to Magnus for semi-ruining his birthday! (Carlsen was celebrating his 30th birthday on game day).

In a post-game interview with chess24 commentators, So expressed his own surprise at winning the Skilling Open finals.

“I felt very lucky today because I did not expect that at all. When he won the first game, I thought Magnus was on fire today and he’s gonna crush me.”

Wesley So, who hails from Bacoor, Cavite in the Philippines where he started his career, thwarted Carlsen’s bid to retain his winning form in the annual tournament among the super grandmasters of the world.

The last time So won against Carlsen was at the first-ever Fischer Random Chess Championship in November 2019 in Norway.

So is coming off strong in the online chess matches this season, reclaiming the United States Chess Championship title in October and co-sharing the world title of the Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz with Magnus Carlsen in September.

The next leg of the Champions Chess Tour is scheduled on December 26 with a $200,000 prize money.

Wesley So’s winning the Skilling Open automatically qualifies him for the Champions Chess Tour Finals with the $300,000 prize fund.

WATCH Wesley So’s trouncing of the world champion here and SEND CONGRATULATIONS in the comments below!

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Aurora Quadra-Balibay
Angie is a self-confessed reformed news critic who vows she has finally found infinite value in delivering the good news. She teaches students of all ages how to make the important interesting for audiences across media platforms.