Wesley So, Caruana, Sevian dispute US crown in playoffs

Roy Luarca
Wesley So, Caruana, Sevian dispute US crown in playoffs

EXHAUSTED. Wesley So admits that he is exhausted from competition.

Wesley So heads into the last stretch of his title defense in the 2021 US Chess Championship

The 2021 US Chess Championship goes the longer route on Tuesday, October 19 (Wednesday, October 20, Philippine time) with defending champion Wesley So, top seed Fabiano Caruana, and Sam Sevian figuring in a three-way rapid playoff for the crown.

So, Caruana and Sevian settled for draws versus separate rivals in the 11th and last round at the Saint Louis Chess Club in Missouri on Monday, leaving them tied for the lead with 6.5 points each.

The Filipino-born So agreed to a truce with Ray Robson and so did world No. 2 Caruana against 2018 US champion Sam Shankland, and Sevian against Daniel Naroditsky.

Robson fell short of joining the playoffs with Leinier Dominguez and Aleksandr Lenderman, who were also unable to eke out the needed wins, at 6 points.

Dominguez split the point with Darius Swiercz like Lenderman with Lazaro Bruzon.

In the post-match interview, So said it’s going to be an “exciting playoffs.”

So, who stretched his unbeaten run to 22 matches in the annual event, continued to rue his missed winning chances against Naroditsky in the 9th round which could have given him the title and the $50,000 (P2.5 million) top purse outright.

Complaining of tiredness due to his exhausting playing season, So said he’s going to take a break, “work hard on my chess, get into shape and prepare.”

Shankland placed seventh with 5.5 points, Swiercz and John Burke, joint eighth (5 points), Jeffery Xiong and Naroditsky (4.5), and Bruzon (4).

Xiong, last year’s runner-up, lost to Burke in the only decisive match in round 11. –