So defeated Caruana in 46 moves using the black pieces, though Caruana stayed in the hunt when he beat Sevian in 49 moves in his next match.
So, who famously switched federations from the Philippines to the United States in 2014, needed only a draw against Sevian to win the title but was superb in beating the 20-year-old American GM in 33 moves.
“I just wanted to play fast today and make some good moves,” said So in an interview with chess.com. “I was playing with no pressure.”
“I did not expect this playoff, so I was just playing chess. If chances come, good. If I lose, that’s fine,” So said.
The three GMs were tied with scores of 6.5 after 11 rounds of competition, triggering the playoff for the title.
It was the second-straight US Chess title and third overall for the 28-year-old grandmaster after ruling the event in 2017.
“I love the fact that anyone can strive to succeed (in the US). You are not held back by your color, lack of connection and or the amount of money you have,” he explained.