Wesley So yields to Sevian in American Cup first round

Roy Luarca
Wesley So yields to Sevian in American Cup first round

BOUNCE BACK. Wesley So hopes to make a quick turnaround.

Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour

After winning the third leg of the FIDE Grand Prix, Wesley So gets off to a rough start in the 2022 American Cup

MANILA, Philippines – Wesley So suffered a shock defeat to Sam Sevian in the opening round of the 2022 American Cup on Wednesday, April 20 (Thursday, April 21, Philippine time) at the Saint Louis Chess Club in Missouri.

Despite handling white, So was bound to lose a rook after Sevian promoted his d pawn to queen, forcing the back-to-back US champion to resign after 36 moves  in their Nimzo-Indian Defense encounter.

The Bacoor, Cavite-born So needs to beat Sevian with the black pieces in their second game on Thursday to force a playoff. A draw would oust So from the eight-man tournament where he’s seeded No. 3.

Other inaugural matches of the $300,000 event saw top seed Levon Aronian trounce Ray Robson, Leinier Dominguez draw with Sam Shankland and No. 2 Fabiano Caruana draw with Jeffery Xiong.

The 21-year-old Sevian, who became a grandmaster at 13 and is ranked fifth in the field with an Elo 2693, also bested So (Elo 2778) in the 2015 US Championship.

It was a disappointing start for So as he topped the third leg of the FIDE Grand Prix early this month. –