By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Two-time United States champion Wesley So dispatched Iran-born Alireza Firouzja with ease and advanced to the semifinals of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Magnus Invitational Thursday.
It was a one-sided contest as the 27-year-old So scored a pair of 2.5-0.5 demolition of the 17-year-old Firouzja in their two-set quarterfinal affair to arrange a semis duel with Dutch Anish Giri on Friday. Giri eliminated Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.
Like So, world classical titlist Magnus Carlsen was merciless as he clobbered Armenia-born Levon Aronian to march into the next round against dangerous Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi.
The win also kept So, the world Fischer-Random king, on course for a third title after his impressive triumphs in the Skillings Open last December and the Euro Opera Rapid last month while keeping his overall tour lead.
Nepomniachtchi eliminated American Hikaru Nakamura, 3-1, after their first set match wound up in a 2-2 deadlock the day before.