Reigning U.S. chess champion Wesley So recently won the blitz event of the 10th Norway Chess Tournament in style, defeating world champion Magnus Carlsen.
The Filipino American chess grandmaster recovered from a rocky start, having been beaten by China’s Wang Hao in the event’s opening round.
After settling draws against Azerbaijan’s Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and India’s five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand, So secured five successive wins, including one against Carlsen, to win the blitz event on Monday.
Although the single-round robin event involves no prize money, it rewards its top five finishers with increased opportunities to play white in the main tournament.
The 10th Norway Chess Tournament’s main event offers 750,000 Norwegian kroner (approximately $80,000) to the winner.
Before beating Carlsen, So defeated France’s Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Norway’s Aryan Tar. He then went on to defeat Bulgaria’s 2005 world champion Veselin Topalov and Azerbaijan’s Teimour Radjabov. He finished the event with 6.5 points after ending his game with the Netherlands’ Anish Giri in a draw.
In anticipation of the tournament’s main event, So shared that he is looking forward to playing Carlsen again.
“Magnus has been the best player for 10 years now, there is nobody close,” So said. “It’s a bit embarrassing for the rest of us that his rating is so much higher than the rest.”
So, who became the youngest player to pass a 2600 skill rating at age 14 in October 2008, is currently ranked sixth in the FIDE (International Chess Federation) Standard.
Born in the Philippines, So became a U.S. citizen in 2021 to represent the U.S. at international competitions.
“I want to give back to a country that has been so good to me,” So told the U.S. Chess Federation last year. “From the moment I landed here, I was encouraged and enabled to become better than I was. I like this attitude and the tremendous generosity of American culture.”