Wesley So fought world No. 2 Alireza Firouzja to a draw and stayed at the helm with fellow American Levon Aronian after the eighth and penultimate round of the 2022 Grand Chess Tour’s Superbet Chess Classic in Bucharest, Romania Friday.
So split the point with Firouzja after 38 moves of a King’s Indian Defense to tighten his grip of the lead alongside Aronian with five points apiece.
Aronian survived Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi in a marathon 85-move draw of a Giuoco Piano duel.
So was clashing with fellow United States bet Leinier Dominguez-Perez while Aronian was playing Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan in the final round at press time.
If So and Aronian wound up tied after the last round, they will play in the playoffs to decide the winner of this nine-round meet, taking a total cash pot worth $350,000 (around P18.3 million).
The winner will receive $100,000 (P5.2 million) while the second and third placers will bring home $65,000 (P3.4 million) and $48,000 (P2.5 million), respectively.
Still at solo No. 3 was French Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, who split the point with Romanian Bogdan-Daniel Deac in 56 moves of a Petroff Defense.