Wesley So battles elite grandmasters at Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Final

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KATWIJK AAN ZEE, NETHERLANDS - JANUARY 14: Wesley So of USA competes against Alireza Firouzja of FIDE and Iran during the 82nd Tata Steel Chess Tournament held in Dorpshuis De Moriaan on January 14, 2020 in Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
KATWIJK AAN ZEE, NETHERLANDS - JANUARY 14: Wesley So of USA competes against Alireza Firouzja of FIDE and Iran during the 82nd Tata Steel Chess Tournament held in Dorpshuis De Moriaan on January 14, 2020 in Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

With a coveted title in sight, Philippine-born Wesley So will be sparing no effort as he opens his campaign in the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Final on Saturday (September 25).  

So, a Filipino-American Grandmaster, will be pitted against world champion Magnus Carlsen and eight other elite chess players in the hybrid event that will feature nine rounds across a ten-day stretch.  

The 27-year-old Cavite native chess player is coming off an impressive run in the tournaments leading up to the Finals after reigning over the Skilling Open, the Euro Opera Rapid and the Chessable Masters. He finished second overall behind tour leader Carlsen, establishing himself as one of the favorites to dethrone the fancied Norwegian.

However, Carlsen is not the only one So needs to keep an eye on.  

The star-studded, 10-man field also includes the likes of Hikaru Nakamura, Levon Aronian, Teimour Radjabov, Vladislav Artemiev, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Anish Giri, Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.  

A round-robin format will be implemented, with a prize pot worth $100,000 (P5 million) at stake.  

Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.

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