MANILA, Philippines – World champion Magnus Carlsen and Global Championship titlist Wesley So drew their match on Friday, January 27 (Saturday, January 28, Manila time) to keep their bid going in the 2023 Tata Steel Masters in Wijk ann Zee, the Netherlands.
Handling white, Carlsen, the defending champion and eight-time winner of the event touted as the Wimbledon of Chess, and So, the 2017 edition champion, split the point in a five-hour Nimzo-Indian Defense tussle to stay within sight of pacesetter Nodirbek Abdusattorov of Uzbekistan and second-running Anish Giri of the Netherlands.
Carlsen and So have 6.5 points after 11 rounds, a point behind Abdusattorov and half a point off Giri. The 18-year-old Abdusattorov and Giri also drew their match.
“Game was very difficult, actually I was struggling,” said So. “Magnus isn’t playing his best chess in the tournament but he’s slowly getting his stride… today I think he’s playing perfect chess.”
The Filipino-born So, now representing the United States, tests Abdussatorov’s mettle in the 12th and penultimate round on Saturday, while Carlsen tangles with Indian prodigy R. Praggnanandhaa, who dropped his title bid following a loss to Iranian ace Parham Maghsoodloo.
With 6.0 points and hoping to sweep their last two matches are Team USA’s Levon Aronian and Fabiano Caruana, who also agreed to split the point.
Other 11th-round matches saw Vincent Keymer and Richard Rapport draw their match, and so did world No. 2 Ding Liren of China against 2021 Tata Masters champion Jorden van Forrest of the Netherlands.
In the 12th round, Giri is pitted against Van Foreest, Liren against Rapport, Caruana against Keymer, Aronian against India’s Gukesh D., and Maghsoodloo against India’s Arjun Erigaisi.
Carlsen did press the attack up to the end, but So ably defended to force the draw as the Norwegian superstar had a wrong-colored bishop.– Rappler.com
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