By Kristel Satumbaga
Philippine-born Wesley So closed in on a much-awaited showdown with reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen after both zoomed to four-point leads against their foes in the semifinals of the Clutch Chess International Friday.
Both So and Carlsen have won the first two games and “clutch” Game 5 to lead the United States’ Fabiano Caruana and Armenia’s Levon Aronian by identical scores of 6-2.
There will be six games left in the $265,000 tournament and if So and Carlsen could sustain their form as of this writing, they will arrange an intriguing duel.
So once zoomed to world No. 2 a few years back and the reigning Fischer-Random titlist, while Carlsen is the current world champion in standard, rapid and blitz.
Carlsen though should have the upper hand after he beat So in the semis of the Lindores Abbey rapid tilt a month back.
So, meanwhile, should ride the crest of his triumph in the Clutch Chess Champions Cup more than a week ago when he also bested Caruana, the current No. 2 rated player in the world.
Caruana and Aronian, however, could still turn things around since Games 11 and 12 give three points for a win.