The Skilling Open: Wesley So Stuns Chess prodigy Magnus Carlsen with a Spectacular Final Triumph

Magnus Carlsen vs. Wesley So: Skilling Open Final

The Skilling Open, an online chess tournament, witnessed a thrilling final between two renowned grandmasters, Magnus Carlsen and Wesley So. Carlsen, the reigning World Champion, had previously dominated the regular-season events on his namesake online chess tour, showcasing his exceptional skills.

So’s Upset Victory

However, So proved that defeating Carlsen was no easy feat by clinching a remarkable victory in the Skilling Open final. After two days of intense matches resulting in draws, So outplayed Carlsen during the blitz tiebreakers to claim the first crown on the Champions Chess Tour.

Day 1 of the final saw both players exhibit tremendous skill, leading to four thrilling games ending in a 2-2 tie. Every game of the mini-match was won by the player with the white pieces, serving as a victory for So, who did not expect to defeat Carlsen twice in a single day.

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So expressed his surprise and satisfaction after Day 1, acknowledging Carlsen as the better player and relishing the opportunity to compete with him in an engaging match. Carlsen, on the other hand, appeared to gain an advantage by winning the first game of the second match with the black pieces. However, So responded skillfully by securing a win in Game 2, leveling the match once again.

Amidst a draw in the third game, Carlsen held a theoretical edge due to having the white pieces in the final game. However, reminiscent of his 2016 World Chess Championship match against Sergey Karjakin, Carlsen opted for a cautious approach and played into a safe, 23-move draw, leading to a two-game blitz tiebreaker.

So’s Victory in the Tiebreaker

Carlsen’s conservative decision may have cost him the match. In the first tiebreaker, So expertly maneuvered to a better endgame and capitalized on Carlsen’s final error to secure a 1-0 lead. Although Carlsen managed to achieve a promising and unbalanced position in Game 2, he failed to convert his advantage, resulting in a draw and ultimately granting the Skilling Open title to So.

In a post-match interview on the Chess24.com stream, So apologized to Carlsen, half-jokingly claiming to have semi-ruined the World Champion’s birthday. Carlsen turned 30 on the day of the final. So expressed his shock at defeating Carlsen and his initial goal of simply putting up a good fight, emphasizing that the day had indeed belonged to him.

Despite the upset, Carlsen graciously praised So for his well-deserved victory, acknowledging that he himself fell short in this match. So emerged as the underdog with betting odds of +225 compared to Carlsen’s -400.

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The Champions Chess Tour Continues

By securing the Skilling Open title, So not only earned $30,000 but also garnered 46 tour points, propelling him to an early lead in the Champions Chess Tour. Carlsen, although disappointed, earned $15,000 for his second-place finish.

The Champions Chess Tour will continue on December 26 with its first major event, an eagerly anticipated tournament featuring a substantial prize pool of $200,000.

Conclusion

The Skilling Open final captivated chess enthusiasts worldwide as Wesley So triumphed over Magnus Carlsen, showcasing his exceptional skills and overcoming the reigning World Champion. So’s victory in the tiebreaker highlighted his strategic prowess and ability to capitalize on his opponent’s errors. The Champions Chess Tour promises to deliver more thrilling encounters as the chess elite vie for victory and substantial prizes.

FAQs

1. How many regular-season events did Magnus Carlsen win prior to the Skilling Open final?

Magnus Carlsen won three out of the four regular-season events on his namesake online chess tour.

2. Who emerged as the winner in the Skilling Open final between Carlsen and So?

Wesley So emerged victorious in the Skilling Open final, defeating Magnus Carlsen.

3. What was the result of the mini-match on the first day of the final?

The mini-match ended in a 2-2 tie between Carlsen and So.

4. How did So secure victory in the tiebreaker?

So secured victory in the tiebreaker by outmaneuvering Carlsen to reach a better endgame, capitalizing on Carlsen’s final error to secure a 1-0 lead, and ultimately drawing the second game.

5. What prize did So earn for winning the Skilling Open?

Wesley So earned $30,000 for winning the Skilling Open.

Doug I. Jones

Doug I. Jones

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