Grandmaster Wesley So halved the point with Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan to remain at joint second after seven rounds of the Superbet Chess Classic in Bucharest, Romania late Saturday, June 12.
So agreed to a draw after 38 moves of a Nimzo-Indian Defense to keep him at No. 2 alongside Russian Alexander Grischuk with identical four points.
Grischuk fell from a share of the lead after 29 moves of a Queen’s Gambit duel with Armenian Levon Aronian.
Azerbaijan’s Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, meanwhile, seized the solo lead with five points after toppling world No. 2 Fabiano Caruana of the United States in 48 moves of a Ruy Lopez game.
So has a chance to catch up or dislodge Mamedyarov if the Cavite-born American could sweep his last two games against France’s Maxime Vachier-Lagrave Sunday and local bet Constantin Lupulescu Monday and Mamedyarov falters in the final rounds.
Save for the Radjabov-So showdown, the seventh round was action packed as three of the five games wound up decisively including one by Dutchman Anish Giri, who downed Vachier-Lagrave in 50 moves of an English encounter.
The battle between the Romanians Lupulescu and Bogdan-Daniel Deac was full of fireworks before ending up with a marathon 75-move standoff of another English scrimmage, which was also the longest played in this nine-round tournament considered as one of the strongest meets this year despite the absence of world champion Magnus Carlsen and Russian world challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi.