Grandmaster Wesley So overpowered former child prodigy John Burke to seize a share of the lead after seven rounds in the 2021 US Chess Championships at the Saint Louis Chess Club in Missouri Wednesday.
Playing black, the Cavite-born So outplayed the 20-year-old Burke in 34 moves of a Ruy Lopez to tie with Samuel Sevian and Aleksandr Lenderman at the helm with 4.5 points.
So currently has two wins and five draws.
Lenderman split the point with Jeffery Xiong in 38 moves of a Queen’s Gambit while Sevian made quick work of Lazaro Bruzon Batista in 22 moves of an English Opening.
Breathing down the leaders’ necks were Leinier Dominguez Perez and Ray Robson with identical 4 points.
Dominguez Perez halved the point with Daniel Naroditsky in 50 moves of a Ruy Lopez Schleimann Defense while Robson lost to top seed Fabiano Caruana in a marathon 90-move duel.
Caruana, who posted his first win following back-to-back defeats, improved to 3.5 at sixth.
Meanwhile, So clashes with Sam Shankland in the eighth round of this 11-round tournament.
Shankland is currently tied at seventh to 10th places with 3 points along with Dariusz Swiercz, Lazaro Bruzon Batista and Daniel Naroditsky.
Jeffery Xiong and Burke are at the bottom with 2.5 points.