Wesley So draws with Ding Liren in Candidates Tournament Round 3
MANILA, Philippines – Talk ceased over the early collapse in form of Wesley So, who was world number two for a time in 2017, Monday night, March 12. Every chess lover was rooted to their laptops by the stupendous brilliancy uncorked by former world champion Vladmir Kramnik against Levon Aronian in the third round of the Candidates Tournament.
Everyone who has studied chess is aware of a rule: move one pawn, develop knights and bishops and castle. Kramnik stunned everyone by moving his rook to the g8 square on the seventh move, placing his knight on the rim and lashing out with g5 on his ninth turn. Aronian, resigned after Kramnik gave the only check in the game, a 27-mover everyone is calling as a masterpiece.
So drew against his Chinese nemesis Ding Liren in 37 moves of a Ruy Lopez for his first half-point in this 13-game, double-round tournament. Though So had an extra pawn, both players had bishops of opposite colors, which means a draw.
Kramnik's gem gave him 2.5 points with Shakriyar Mamedyarov and Fabiano Caruana at 2 points. Ding Liren and Alexander Grischuk have 1.5 points followed by Sergey Karjakin and Aronian, both with one points. So is last with 0.5 points after losing the first two games.
The complete standings after 3 rounds:
"I still don't know what made me play bad," said So after drawing with Ding. "But as I said earlier, I want to win this tournament. Second place is peanuts."
"Earlier, I said a score of plus three or plus four would be enough," added So, who is referring to a tally of 10 or 11 points out of 14. "I have to start winning some games."
Kramnik, interviewed after the game by the commentary team of Judit Polgar and Lawrence Trent, said he was not sure if plus three or four would win. He also told Polgar his win against Aronian "is in Judit's style," referring to her very aggressive style.
Tuesday night is rest day.
On Wednesday, March 13, So's next foe will be Mamedyarov, the world number two who saved an inferior position against Caruana as the latter could not find the right plan in time pressure.
Round 3 results: Caruana, Fabiano ½-½ Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar; Karjakin, Sergey ½-½ Grischuk; Alexander, Aronian, Levon 0-1 Kramnik, Vladimir; So, Wesley ½-½ Ding, Liren.
Round 4 pairings: Grischuk - Ding Liren; Mamedyarov - So Wesley; Kramnik - Caruana; Karjakin - Aronian.