GM Wesley So took the lead in his FTX Crypto Cup semifinal against a mosquitos-battling GM Ian Nepomniachtchi. The American grandmaster needs two game points on Saturday to reach the final against either GM Magnus Carlsen or GM Teimour Radjabov, who tied their first match.
Top chess players don’t have the habit of blaming external factors for their losses. Headaches, fevers, and even hangovers tend to go unmentioned as the suffering combatants know that an excuse is meaningless if the opponent is suffering the same.
On Friday, however, Nepomniachtchi had no choice but to blame his loss in the fourth game (after three draws) for the plague of mosquitos that had invaded his room.
Playing from somewhere in the countryside in Russia, the world championship contender was seen on camera visibly distracted by the insects as he tried to catch them. “High-pitched buzzing was also picked up by his microphone,” adds the press release of the tournament.
Nepomniachtchi: “In the last game didn’t care about winning the game at all. I just didn’t want to get eaten by mosquitoes! This was incredible. I have never seen such a big amount in one place. I swear I have never had more annoying playing conditions than this.”
The Russian player joked that he may have to wear a uniform and a mask when the match resumes tomorrow. Asked what his strategy for the second match will be, So joked: “Hopefully the mosquitoes will help me again.”
News Source: chess