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So draws praise from Kasparov


Filipino reigns in Grand Chess Tour.

Grandmaster Wesley So drew with American GM Fabiano Caruana Saturday in the penultimate round of the London Chess Classic to clinch victory in the 2016 Grand Chess Tour.

Playing black, the 21-year-old Filipino, now playing for the United States Chess Federation (USCF), equalized early to salvage the draw in 37 moves.

“This is a huge success for me. I would like to thank the Lord for winning such a prestigious tour,” said So who pocketed the $100,000 grand prize (roughly R5 million).

It was a mighty turnaround for So who brought up the rear the first time the tour was played last year.

“I have learnt a lot. I played so many world-class players,” he said.

With the draw, So improved to 5.5 points, half-a-point ahead of Caruana. He plays Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France on Sunday in the final round.

Only former world champion Viswanathan Anand of India won during the eighth round. He beat off-form Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria to climb to a tie for third with American GM Hikaru Nakamura and Russian GM Vladimir Kramnik with 4.5 points apiece.

Rounding out the standings are GM Levon Aronian of Armenia and GM Anish Giri of the Netherlands with 4 points apiece, Vachier-Lagrave and British GM Michael Adams with 3.5 points each and Topalov with 1 point.

The tour is made up for four legs with So finishing fourth in Paris, second in Leuven and topping the Sinquefield Cup.

So’s dominance has drawn the admiration of former world champion Garry Kasparov, who called him and Caruana as main contenders to claim the crown from GM Magnus Carlsen of Norway. (REY BANCOD)