By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Grandmaster Wesley So made short work of Polish Jan-Krzysztof Duda in their quarterfinal duel and barged into the semifinals of the Opera Euro Rapid of the Champions Chess Tour Thursday, Feb. 11.
After winning the first of the two four-game duel Wednesday, 2.5-1.5, the 27-year-old So went for the kill early and succeeded as she smashed Duda twice to clinch berth in the semis.
The win arranged the reigning world Fischer-Random and two-time United States champion a semis tussle with Azerbaijan’s Teimour Radjabov, who needed an extra two-game tiebreaker to eliminate Netherland’s Anish Giri.
So seeks his second title in this tour after ruling the opening leg’s Skillings Open late last year.
In the second leg of the Airthings Masters a month ago, So also made it to the quarters but yielded to French Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the semis.
In the other side of the bracket, world champion Magnus Carlsen survived rising Russian star Daniil Dubov to advance to the next round against Vachier-Lagrave, who bested Armenia’s Levon Aronian.
Carlsen took Day One, 2.5-.5, but Dubov bounced back by claiming Day Two, 2.5-.5, to force the two-game blitz playoff, 1-1.
Carlsen took the semis slot by winning their Armageddon playoff.