Filipino Grandmaster (GM) Wesley So got a wild card slot in the prestigious 2018 Candidates’ Tournament to be held on March 10 to 28 in Berlin, Germany.
Besides So, the International Chess Federation (FIDE) also awarded Italian-American GM Fabiano Caruana and Russian GM Vladimir Kramnik with wild cards.
“They say I have made it to The Candidates. Anyway, I see my name on this list. This is a very big deal and if it is really true (FIDE has not yet spoken so I don’t want to break my heart by rejoicing yet) then all I can say is Thank you Lord,” So posted on his Facebook account.
So and Caruana were the two most qualified to be given a wild card slot because of their high rating this year. They also participated in the World Cup or Grand Prix, which is one of the requirements to earn a wild card.
So far, there are six qualified players for the Candidates’ Tournament.
The three other players are GM Levon Aronian of Armenia and GM Ding Liren of China—the top two players in the 2017 World Cup held in Georgia recently, and GM Sergey Karjakin of Russia —runner-up in the 2016 World Championship.
All players in the Candidates’ Tournament will be playing in a round-robin format.
The winner will challenge reigning world champion GM Magnus Carlsen of Norway in the 2018 World Chess Championship to determine the new world champion.
Meanwhile, So will be competing in the 2017 Champions Showdown beginning on November 10 at the Saint Louis Chess Club in US.
Joining him in the tournament are Caruana, Ding, Carlsen, GM Hikaru Nakamura of the US, GM Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria, GM Alexander Grischuk of Russia and GM Lenier Dominguez of Cuba.
So battles Dominguez while Nakamura takes on Topalov, Caruana faces Grischuk, and Carlsen fights Ding.
The winner in each showdown gets $60,000 while the runner-up takes home $40,000.