Wesley So bows to Firouzja, loses lead in Sinquefield Cup title race

Roy Luarca
Wesley So bows to Firouzja, loses lead in Sinquefield Cup title race

UNTIMELY. Wesley So suffers his first loss in the Sinquefield Cup.

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Wesley So drops to fourth as Alireza Firouzja, Ian Nepomniachtchi, and Fabiano Caruana seize a share of the lead with one round to go in the Sinquefield Cup

MANILA, Philippines – United States back-to-back chess champion Wesley So blew a winning position and bowed to Alireza Firouzja in the eighth round of the 2022 Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis, Missouri, on Saturday, September 10 (Sunday, September 11, Manila time).

The Filipino-born So got stuck at 4 points and dropped to solo fourth behind Firouzja, Ian Nepomniachtchi, and Fabiano Caruana, all with 4.5 points.

Nepomniachtchi trounced Levon Aronian, while Caruana subdued Hans Niemann.

Caruana, however, will draw a bye in the ninth and final round, leaving Firouzja and Nepomniachtchi to contend for the title with So having an outside chance.

As things stand, So must beat Leinier Dominguez (3.5 points) and hope that Firouzja and Nepomniachtchi get stunned by Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (2.5) and Niemann (3), respectively, to snare the $100,000 top purse.

The other final match pits Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2.5 points) against Aronian (3).

Handling black, So gained the upper hand against Firouzja in their Italian encounter, but an uncharacteristic blunder sent the reigning world Fischer Random champion to his first loss in the $350,000 (around P20 million) event serving as the fifth and last leg of the 2022 Grand Chess Tour.

So emerged overall champion in the 2021 Grand Chess Tour, with Mamedyarov placing second and Vachier-Lagrave third.

He was on track to regaining the crown, until he misstepped against Firouzja. –

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