World champion Magnus Carlsen sustained his pace to seize the top spot, while United States champion Wesley So gained ground in the New In Chess Classic preliminary phase on Monday, April 26 (Manila time).
Stretching his unbeaten run to 10 games, Carlsen notched 7 points to move ahead of 6.5-pointers Hikaru Nakamura and Alireza Firouzja.
Coming from the bottom rung, So sprung with 2 wins and 3 draws in the second set of 5 games to boost his drive for a fifth straight quarterfinals stint in the Champions Chess Tour (CCT) with 5.5 points.
So, winner of the Skilling Open and the Opera Euro Rapid and overall CCT leader, beat Sergey Karjakin and Vidit Gujrathi, and drew with Le Quang Liem, Leinier Dominguez, and Airthings Masters ruler Teimour Radjabov to jump from 11th to joint 7th with Norwegian prospect Aryan Tari and new Team USA member Levon Aronian.
To avoid complications, the Bacoor, Cavite-born So needs to score 3 points in the third set of five games on Tuesday to barge into the round of 8, where play shifts to match.
Blocking So's path are Tari, Aronian, Johan Sebastian Christiansen, Carlsen, and Nakamura, who is also unscathed after 10 games.
Carlsen, trailing So in the overall points race, is bidding for his first victory in the $1.5 million (P72 million) Tour.
After a hot start of 4 points, Radjabov faltered with a loss and 4 draws for 6 points, the same score as Le and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.
Still in the chase for quarterfinals berths are Gujrathi with 5 points and Dominguez and 15-year-old Indian sensation Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa with 4.5 each. – Rappler.com