Wesley So holds on to share of lead in penultimate round of US Chess Championships

Published October 18, 2021, 12:39 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

Wesley So

Defending champion Wesley So picked up his third straight draw to remain at the helm while Fabiano Caruana threatened to steal the spotlight after the 10th and penultimate round of the 2021 US Chess Championships at the Saint Louis Chess Club in Missouri.

So split the point with Samuel Sevian after 30 moves of a Queen’s Pawn: London System duel as the two woodpushers slightly improved to 6 points to protect their lead in the 11-round tournament.

But Caruana rose to the challenge to claim a share of the lead after posting his second straight win at the expense of Aleksandr Lenderman in 59 moves of a Queen’s Pawn Game.

The race for the title is expected to be a close battle with So clashing with Ray Robson, Caruana colliding with Sam Shankland and Sevian tackling Daniel Naroditsky in the 12th and final round.

So currently has eight draws and two victories against Dariusz Swiercz in the second round and John Burke in the seventh. Sevian, for its part, has three wins, six draws and one loss.

After back-to-back losses in the fifth and sixth rounds, Caruana slowly crawled back from seventh place to a share of first by winning three of his next four matches. He settled for a draw in the eighth with Jeffery Xiong.

Meanwhile, Leiner Dominguez Perez, Robson and Lenderman trail not far behind the leaders with 5.5 points, followed by Shankland at seventh with 5 points.

Xiong and Swiercz currently tote 4.5 points, Naroditsky and Burke with 4 points and Lazaro Bruzon Batista with 3.5 points.

 
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