It's almost worrying when one reads a piece of news which reports about Magnus Carlsen not being the World Champion.
Photo from the official website
But that is: Wesley So, the American chess wizard, destroyed Carlsen in the finals of the Fischer Random World Championship, to claim the title.
The Fischer random variant, also known as Chess 960, was invented by Bobby Fischer, who announced this new game variation on June 19, 1996. Fischer Random Chess employs the same board and pieces as standard chess, but the starting position of the pieces on the players' home ranks is randomized, following certain rules. The random setup makes gaining an advantage through the memorization of openings impracticable; players instead must rely more on their spontaneous talent and creativity over the board. The randomization of the home ranks pieces produces 960 possible starting positions.
In the semifinals, Wesley had to deal with another super-strong FR player, the Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi.
The matches took place from October 27 to November 2, with the following schedule:
The format of the matches was rather articulate:
4 games called "slow rapid" with a time control of 45 0.
Then 4 games called "rapid", with a time control of 15 2.
If needed, a tiebreak with Blitz games (3+2).
The points assigned for a win in the slow rapid were 3, with 1.5 points earned for a draw.
In the rapid games, 2 points for the win and 1 point for the draw.
In the Blitz section, standard score.
In his semifinal match with Nepo, Wesley drew the first two "slow" games, then won the third. With 3 points for the win, it was already difficult for the Russian to fill the gap.
Nepo lost the 4th slow rapid game, abandoning almost all the chances to reach the finals.
In the rapid (15+2) games, they drew the first one, but So went on to win the second game. At that point, a draw would have been enough to win the match mathematically.
And Wesley was able to draw it, going on to the finals.
In the other semifinals, after an initial scare - Magnus lost the first slow rapid game - the World Champion went on to conquer the final, mistreating the other American Fabi Caruana.
Unfortunately for the followers, in neither of the matches there was the need to play blitz games.
The two finalists (photo from the official website)
Same format for the finals, 1st and 2nd place with Carlsen vs. So and 3rd and 4th place with Caruana vs. Nepo.
In the 3rd-4th final, Caruana started strong, as he did in the semis, but then Nepo came back powerfully and won the match without the need to play the Blitz section.
Meanwhile, Carlsen was showing all his problematic approach to this chess variant, with Wesley So literally dominating the Numero Uno.
After an initial draw, So won three games in a row, de facto putting his name on the cup.
In the rapid section, Carlsen drew the first game and lost the second. That was enough. So was the First ever Fischer Random World Champion!
You can download all the games in PGN format HERE