Wesley So settles for draw, slips to joint third

Wesley So trails half a point behind pacesetters after eight rounds in the WR Chess Masters Thursday, Feb. 23. (File Photo)

Wesley So failed to capitalize on his winning opportunities and settled for a draw with Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa to slip to joint third after eight rounds in the WR Chess Masters in Dusseldorf, Germany Thursday, Feb. 23.

The 29-year-old So escaped with a marathon 82-move standoff of a Giuoco Piano with the Indian teen sensation for four points.

Despite posting his seventh straight draw for a share of third and fourth with Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi, the Cavite-born So now trails half a point behind co-leaders Levon Aronian of the United States and Dommaraju Gukesh of India.

Aronian succumbed to Nepomniachtchi in 53 moves of a London System to stay at 4.5 points while Gukesh caught up with Aronian on top after smashing Russian Andrey Esipenko in 36 moves of a Catalan Opening.

So, however, could still catch up on the pacesetters if he could gain favorable results against German Vincent Keymer and Uzbek Nodirbek Abdusattorov in the last two rounds.