US champion Wesley So, who has emerged as the strongest rival to Magnus Carlsen in online events, defeated the world champion for the second time in three months last weekend as the former Filipino, 27, showed the benefits of his formula of home preparation with a difference. 

Many chess experts have authored books, articles and videos offering opening repertoires, but So is unique in playing his own recommendations, made in a Chessable course complete with videos and full analysis, against all significant replies to 1 e4. 

It is a daring approach to top events, which enables his prospective opponents to probe their soundness beforehand with the help of aides and computers.

Even the great Carlsen could not succeed, although his approach was surprisingly amateurish as he failed to prepare before the first day (of two) and missed winning chances on the second day. So himself showed a downside in his only defeat of the match when he forgot his own analysis and turned a win into a loss.

This is not a course for novices or even average players, but it seems sure to interest professionals, strong amateurs, and talented juniors.

Meanwhile, the global chess body Fide has published the playing schedule for the resumption of the world title candidates, which was halted at halfway nearly a year ago due to the pandemic. The seven rounds at Ekaterinburg, Russia, will be played from 19 to 28 April.

A key game on the very first day will be Fabiano Caruana v Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, pre-tournament favourite v current leader.


White mates in three moves, against any defence (by Sam Loyd, 1857). Only two lines of play, but still tricky from America's “Puzzle King”.

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