Wesley So stretched his incredible unbeaten run to 29 games as he set up a blockbuster FTX Crypto Cup finale against Magnus Carlsen.
The two pacesetters in this season’s $1.5 million Meltwater Champions Chess Tour both eased into the final with smooth semifinal wins.
Carlsen, Norway’s World Champion, scored an opening-game win and then secured two draws. He finished with a flourish to knock out Teimour Radjabov.
After a tense 2-2 draw yesterday, it was a dominant 3-1 win for Carlsen.
The champ said he was “very satisfied” to go through to the final of the super-strong event that carries a prize pot of $220,000 and 2.18 bitcoin.
Nepo stung by So
In the other semi, So had the advantage overnight after the drama that saw Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi attacked by mosquitos in his playing space.
The American needed only to repel the insect-hit Nepo over four games. But as Nepo became increasingly-desperate, So broke through to score a match-winner in the third.
Nepo, the man attacked by mosquitoes, had been swatted aside like an annoying insect.
Had Nepo won it would have set up an fascinating final. The new world title challenger would have faced the king of chess. But it was not to be.
Carlsen, the Tour leader, will instead face the man who has beaten him already in two finals.
Can Carlsen turn the trend around, or will Wesley show his dominance?
Nepo tweeted after: “Great performance from Wesley, impeccable calculation today, congrats on reaching the finals!”
After his win, So said: “I’m very happy to be back in the finals. I’m very pleased and hopefully I have enough energy.”
The FTX Crypto Cup is leg 6 of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, organised by the Play Magnus Group. All games are played in the new chess24.com play zone.
The final of the Tour’s third Major starts at 17:00 CEST and runs over two days. Two matches will be played with play-offs and an Armageddon tiebreaker if needed.
Nepo and Radjabov will also battle it out for the third place.