Wesley So, Aronian even after first 2 games of American Cup finals

Roy Luarca

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Wesley So, Aronian even after first 2 games of American Cup finals

CONTENDER. Wesley So in action during the 2022 Sinquefield Cup.

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A three-time US champion, Wesley So keeps his Amercian Cup title chances alive after forcing a draw against Levon Aronian in the final round

MANILA, Philippines – Wesley So and Levon Aronian remained even after two games in the American Cup 2024 Grand Finals on Tuesday, March 19 (Wednesday, March 20, Philippine time) at the Saint Louis Chess Club in Saint Louis, Missouri.

The Filipino-born So and the Armenian-born Aronian played a quick draw in their classical encounter and drew their rapid tussle as well. The two mainstays of Team USA will resume their race for the $75,000 (P4.2 million) champion’s purse on Wednesday with another two-game match. If nobody wins, the title duel goes to a two-game rapid playoff.

So, a three-time US champion, said he didn’t pursue a win in their first Berlin game with white because he had no time to prepare, having beaten Ray Robson in the losers’ bracket finals only a few hours earlier.

Handling black in the second game, So forced a draw with Aronian despite having only a rook and a pawn against his opponent’s knight, bishop, and pawn.

“I won’t have rated my chances very high because four days ago I had to win three matches in a row, and especially I had to go through Fabi (world No. 2 Fabiano Caruana), who’s very tough, and also Ray (Robson), who’s in good form,” said So.

Good enough to beat So in the winners’ bracket semifinals, which sent the Bacoor, Cavite protege into must-win situations against Sam Shankland, Caruana, and Robson in that order to forge the showdown with Aronian, who trounced Robson in the winners’ bracket finals of the double-elimination event.

“I will fight and give my best,” So said during the post-fight interview.

So and Aronian are tied in their classical games thus far, each with 4 wins, 4 losses and 20 draws each. –

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