By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Grandmaster Wesley So yielded to old nemesis Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France, 2.5-0.5, and fell farther behind leader Magnus Carlsen after two rounds in the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Grand Finals Sunday.
It was a stinging defeat for the two-time United States champion So as Vachier-Lagreve continued to dominate him in their head-to-head encounter.
The defeat proved costly for So as it allowed Carlsen to stretch his lead from four points to six with 21.5 points. The Cavite-born American So remained second with 15.5 points.
Carlsen gained two points after a hard-earned triumph over Azerbaijan’s Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in a showdown that was decided by an Armageddon playoff.
So faces Mamedyarov in the third round.
In the other results, Poland’s Jan-Krzysztof Duda turned back the Netherland’s Anish Giri, 2.5-1.5; United States’ Hikaru Nakamura edged Azerbaijan’s Teimour Radjabov, 3.5-2.5; and Armenia’s Levon Aronian trounced Russia’s Vladislav Artemiev, 2.5-1.5.
Aronian boosted his output to 12 points for third followed by Radjabov with 8 points while Giri and Vachier-Lagrave are tied for fifth and sixth with 7.5 points.
So made it to the finale by finishing second overall behind Tour leader Carlsen after topping three legs—the Skilling Open, the Euro Opera Rapid and the Chessable Masters.