A dramatic end to the Chessable Masters prelim stage saw boy wonder Abhimanyu Mishra score an historic win and US star Wesley So break the event’s score record.
Twelve-year-old Mishra, the world’s youngest Grandmaster, shocked the field by toppling Indian star Pentala Harikrishna. It was Mishra’s first win over a Super GM and first win of the event.
The New Jersey youngster and Harikrishna are separated by 595 places in the world rankings, 23 years in age and an ocean of experience.
In a frantic endgame in Round 14, Mishra needed to hold his nerve with just seconds left on his clock to seal the win.
When it was finally over, Mishra, who is ranked 616 in the world, rocked back on his chair in relief. Harikrishna looked stunned.
“It was a dream come true to play in this event, against these players,” Mishra said afterwards. “It was amazing, it was full of ups and downs and at the end I was able to win.”
Meanwhile, Mishra’s fellow American So continued his incredible dominance of this event by extending his unbeaten streak to 15 games.
In the process, he broke the $1.6 million Meltwater Champions Chess Tour prelim stage score record with a stunning 11/15.
So said he was “inspired” by the absence of World Champion Magnus Carlsen who he is chasing in the overall Tour table.
“I figured I should try and score as many points when he is not here,” he added.
So took a draw with the Dutchman Jorden Van Foreest in the final round as both went through to the knockouts.
For Van Foreest, it was a big achievement. He made the cut for the first time along with Vietnam’s Liem Quang Le.
While So was dominant, close behind were a pack of three led by the other young hotshot in the field, Alireza Firouzja.
The Iranian-born teenager beat Misha in the final round to finish joint-second on 10.5/15 and clearly justify the hype around him.
Level with Firouzja were the two heavyweights, speed demon Hikaru Nakamura and Armenia’s Levon Aronian.
Making up the top eight were Goldmoney Asian Rapid finalist Vladislav Artemiev and Shakrhiyar Mamedyarov.
However, in the scramble for places in the top eight the bottom eight players were eliminated. The exciting Indian Adhiban Baskaran came the closest, just missing out.
The knockouts start tomorrow. Kick off is at 17:00 CEST.