So bows to Chinese GM

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Filipino Grandmaster (GM) Wesley So bowed out of contention in the prestigious 2017 FIDE (International Chess Federation) World Chess Cup being held in Tbilisi, Georgia.

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The second-seeded Filipino wizard suffered a 2.5-3.5 heart-breaking loss to Chinese GM Ding Liren in the playoff of their semifinal match.

The first two standard chess games of So and Ding ended in a draw as well as their two rapid games in the playoff.

So and Ding also agreed to a draw in the first blitz game after just nine moves of a Gruenfeld Defense.

“I was unable to fully recover from the draw in the previous round. If I were in Wesley’s place, I would have played on [the first blitz game instead of agreeing to a draw],” Ding said in an interview published in chessbase.com.

Ding delivered the finishing blow in the second blitz game after 69 moves of a Catalan.

The 11th seed Chinese master will be facing GM Levon Aronian of Armenia in the championship round.

Aronian posted a thrilling 5-4 win over GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France in the other semifinals match.

So and Vachier-Lagrave won’t be going home empty handed as they got $50,000 each as consolation prize.

Ding and Aronian will be battling for the $120,000 top purse.

The loser will receive $80,000.

“It’s a unique situation, and you have to cherish these unique situations in life. Many people would kill to be in your position because it’s exciting. You just have to accept that it’s not going to be easy and try to enjoy it in the process,” Aronian said.

EMIL C. NOGUERA

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