Wesley So spoilt two completely winning positions in a row against Hikaru Nakamura but still held on to draw all four games on Day 2 of their semi-final and reach the final of the $100,000 Skilling Open. His opponent will be World Champion Magnus Carlsen, who admitted “frankly I’m not playing that great” after another tough day at the office against Ian Nepomniachtchi. After several near misses the day before, the Russian finally won Saturday’s first game, but Magnus hit back in the next game and reached yet another online final.
Wesley So: “A very confusing day”
After the quarterfinals in which three of the four Day 1 losers came back to win, you might have considered Hikaru Nakamura the favourite to make a comeback against Wesley So. Few people in world chess are better at protecting a lead than Wesley, however, so if you just heard that there were four draws on Day 2 of the semi-finals you might assume he’d managed to drain all the life out of the positions and ease his way into the final. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Hikaru made his intentions clear in the first game of the day, when instead of playing his usual solid Berlin Defence against 1.e4 he went for a Ruy Lopez with 3…a6 and 4…g6, an opening he seems never to have tried before in a top-level game. It soon backfired, however, since Wesley was close to winning in 15 moves and could have put the finishing touches to the game on move 31.
Before that we also have a full program of events starting with a Q&A session with 8-time Russian Champion Peter Svidler at 14:00 CET.
- Champions Chess Tour website
- All the Skilling Open games: Prelims | Knockout
- The King’s Gambit: Magnus Carlsen launches $1.5 million Champions Chess Tour
- What’s new in the Champions Chess Tour?
- Nakamura and Firouzja complete Skilling Open lineup
- Introducing the new Skilling Open commentary teams
- Skilling Open 1: Giri leads mouse-slipping Carlsen
- Skilling Open 2: Giri still leads after Karjakin beats Carlsen
- Skilling Open 3: Firouzja heartbreak as Carlsen wins prelims
- Skilling Open QF1: Naka, Giri, Nepo and So in danger
- Skilling Open QF2: Day of the Comebacks
- Skilling Open SF1: Carlsen and So seize the lead