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So earns wild card for World chess cycle

MANILA, Philippines — Grandmaster Wesley So took one of the two wild card slots in the final World Championship Cycle, keeping his hopes for a crack at the world crown held by Magnus Carlsen of Norway.

So failed to qualify via the direct qualification tournaments –  the World Cup and FIDE Grand Prix – but he and US teammate Fabiano Caruana got the wild card with the highest average rating among 12 players in the wait list.

Russian Vladimir Kramnik, a former world champion, failed to get one of  the two available wild cards.

They will join Russia’s Sergey Karjakin, the losing finalist to Carlsen in their world title clash two years ago, World Cup champion Levon Aronian of Armenia and runner-up Ding Liren of China in the tournament set March 10-28 next year in Berlin.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Reimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan, Alexander Grischuk of Russia and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France are disputing the last two berths in the ongoing FIDE Grand Prix.

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