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Carlsen, So start separate Round-of-32 battles

Photograph courtesy from Facebook Magnus Carlsen

Five-time classical chess world champion Magnus Carlsen continues his personal hunt for the elusive World Cup of chess title as he leads round-of-32 action Saturday in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Carlsen, the 32-year-old Norwegian champion, was battling compatriot Aryan Tari at press time at the start of the third round of the prestigious World Cup, joined in by the brightest qualifiers and seeded players from all over the continents.

In his bid to solidify his informal claim as the “G.O.A.T.” (greatest of all time) of the sport, Carlsen breezed past Levan Pantsulaia of the Republic of Georgia, 2-0, and skipped the stamina-sapping tiebreaks Friday night to lead second seed Hikaru Nakamura and eighth-ranked Filipino-American Wesley So, among others in separate board assignments.

Carlsen has also won the World Rapid title four times and taken the World Blitz belt six times, but hasn’t won the World Cup title in his great, storied career. The closest he has gotten to winning the crown was third place twice in the 2007 edition in Khanty-Mansiyisk, Russia and in 2021 in Sochi, Russia.

Tari, who had to start from the round-of-128 eliminations, has beaten El Jawich Amro of Egypt and Nguyen Thai Dan Van of the Czech Republic in the knockout, best-of-two classical matches to earn the right to face and topple Carlsen.

So, the Filipino who is now playing for the American banner, had to struggle past Cam Emre of Turkey, 2.5-1.5, and will take on the challenge of Frenchman Jules Moussard in one of the 16 stepladder divisions.

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