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So stays in title hunt despite draw with Russial foe




By Kristel Satumbaga


Grandmaster Wesley So split the point with Russian Alexander Grischuk in 21 moves of a Queen’s Gambit Declined and stayed in the title hunt after six rounds in the Saint Louis Rapid 2020 held online Wednesday.

The draw put the Minnesota-based So in a tie with Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi with eight points in this tournament giving two points for a win, half a point for a draw and zero for a loss.

Reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen, who topped the Fischer Random side of the tournament a few days back, dismantled Indian Pentala Harikrishna’s Caro-kann Defense in 58 moves to stay on top with nine points.

The 26-year-old So was playing Nepomniachtchi, Harikrishna and Armenian Levon Aronian in the last three rounds at posting with hopes of finishing strong after a fifth-place finish in the Fischer-Random event a few days ago.

In that tournament, So had a chance to tie for first with a win in the final round but failed to deliver after yielding to teenage sensation Iranian Alireza Firouzja.

After the rapid, the tournament will proceed with the 18-round blitz competition set Friday and Saturday.