Chess

Nakamura pulls away as Wesley So struggles in St. Louis chess

Roy Luarca
Nakamura pulls away as Wesley So struggles in St. Louis chess

STAYING ALIVE. Wesley So looks to rebound in the second round of blitz play.

FIDE

Wesley So absorbs a shock loss to cellar-dweller Sam Shankland then falls again versus world No. 2 Fabiano Caruana

Hikaru Nakamura continued his rampage while Wesley So barely gained ground in the 2021 St. Louis Rapid and Blitz on Sunday, August 15, in St. Louis, Missouri.

Proving his speed chess prowess, Nakamura won three and drew six games to pull away from the field with 18 points even as So, tripped by back-to-back losses in rounds 8 and 9, scored 5 and was at solo fourth with 14 points in the $150,000 (P7.5 million) event being held over the board at St. Louis Chess Club in Missouri.

The Cavite-born So, the reigning United States champion, did well at the start with five draws and victories over Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in round 2 and Jeffery Xiong in round 6.

So, however, got stunned by cellar-dweller Sam Shankland in round 7, followed by a loss to world No. 2 Fabiano Caruana to fall back.

Not to be counted out, So prevailed over Peter Svidler in the ninth round to keep his title bid alive.

Caruana, Team USA’s board 1 player, tallied 15.5 points, 2.5 away from Nakamura to tow Hungarian Richard Rapport with 14.5 points.

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov occupied the fifth spot with 13 points, just half a point clear off Svidler and Xiong.

The second round of blitz play will be on Monday with So expected to rebound.

So, however, is too far to challenge Nakamura, who is 4 points ahead. – Rappler.com