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French star Maxime Vachier-Lagrave eked out a win and joined Americans Wesley So and Leinier Dominguez on top of the 2021 Sinquefield Cup at the St. Louis Chess Club in Missouri.
Vachier-Lagrave trounced Dariusz Swiercz to boost his total to 3.5 points, the same total as So and Dominguez after five rounds of over the board play on Saturday, August 21 (Sunday, August 22, Philippine time).
The Filipino-born So, the reigning United States champion, drew with Hungarian Richard Rapport in just 17 moves of a Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense while Dominguez agreed to a truce with Azerbaijani Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.
Jeffery Xiong provided the shocker when he subdued top-seed and fellow American Fabiano Caruana in the 10-player field.
Caruana, the world No. 2, dropped to solo fourth with 3 points.
Xiong climbed to 2.5 points in the company of Mamedyarov and Rapport.
Russian Peter Svidler and American Sam Shankland also drew their game, pushing Shankland to 2 points.
Svidler occupied the cellar with Swiercz at 1 point each.
So, one of the pre-tournament favorites, tangle with Xiong in the sixth round on Sunday.
Other pairings are Swiercz-Mamedyarov, Dominguez-Svidler, Shankland-Rapport, and Caruana-Vachier-Lagrave. – Rappler.com