By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Wesley So managed only a draw with Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi but it was enough to grab the solo lead after four rounds of the Grand Chess Tour’s Sinquefield Cup 2022 in Saint Louis, Missouri Monday, Sept. 5.
So split the point after 25 moves of a Queen’s Gambit Accepted to hike his total to 2.5 points on one win and three draws.
The World Fischer-Random king and two-time United States titlist was running second behind fellow American Hans Moke Niemann, who was atop the leaderboard entering the round after a stunning victory over reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen.
But Carlsen sent shockwaves down the chess world after he surprisingly withdrew without citing any reason, forcing the organizers to remove all the points incurred by Carlsen in the first three rounds that he played including that full point from Niemann.
Neimann slipped to a heavy five-man logjam at second with two points apiece.
Part of that chase pack were Nepomniachtchi, Caruana, Leinier Dominguez-Perez of the US and Iran-born Alireza Firouzja of France.
So clashes with fellow American Levon Aronian in the fifth round with hopes of keeping his stranglehold of the lead in this tournament that has a total cash purse worth $350,000 (P19.8 million) with the winner grabbing $100,000 (P5.6 million).