MANILA, Philippines – Wesley So notched his second straight win on Saturday, January 21 (Sunday, January 22, Philippine time) and vaulted to joint second in the 2023 Tata Steel Masters in Wijk ann Zee, the Netherlands.
Showing the form that made him the first Chess.com Global champion, So handled black with precision to tame Indian prodigy Gukesh D in 34 moves of a Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense and raise his total to 4.5 points after seven rounds.
The Filipino-born So, now playing for Team USA, stands a point behind 2021 world rapid blitz champion Nodirbek Abdusattorov of Uzbekistan.
“I really feel bad for Gukesh, he’s just in bad form in this tournament… he made some big blunders I think,” said So.
Abdusattorov subdued another Indian Arjun Erigaisi for 5.5 points halfway through the single round-robin 14 super GM-tournament.
Toting the exact total as So were Indian Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa, Dutch No. 1 Anish Giri, and American No. 1 Fabiano Caruana.
Praggnanandhaa beat 2021 Tata Masters winner Jorden Van Foreest; Giri drew with Team USA’s Levon Aronian; while Caruana also drew with Iranian ace Parham Maghsoodloo.
World champion Magnus Carlsen rebounded with a victory over Romania’s Richard Rapport and joined world No. 2 Ding Liren of China and Maghsoodloo at 3.5 points.
So, who drew his first five games before besting Vincent Keymer in round 6, tries to boost his bid to replicate his 2017 triumph in the event when he faces Liren in the eighth round on Sunday.
Other matches pit defending champion Carlsen against 2020 champion Caruana, Giri against Keymer, Abdusattorov against Aronian, Van Foreest against Erigaisi, Rapport against Praggnanandhaa, and Gukesh against Maghsoodloo. – Rappler.com