By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Wesley So outplayed fellow American Leinier Dominguez Perez and seized the solo lead in Pool D of the FIDE Chess Grand Prix 1 2022 in Berlin, Germany on Monday.
Playing in black, So equalized early before taking control of the match that lasted in 39 moves of a Giuoco Piano.
It was the second straight win for the two-time US champion after turning back world challenger Alexei Shirov of Spain in the third round.
He drew with Dominguez-Perez and India’s Pentala Harikrishna in the first two rounds of the double round-robin group stage.
The triumph put So in prime position to claim the lone spot to the semifinals in his bracket.
So is determined to perform strongly in the series which is divided into three legs where the top two finishers will advance to the Candidates Tournament 2022 slated June 16-July 7 in Madrid, Spain.
The winner in the Candidates will challenge Magnus Carlsen for the world classical title.
So was playing Harkrishna in the fifth round at press time and will tackle Shirov in the last round of the group stage Wednesday.