Reigning United States champion Wesley So drew with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave on Wednesday, August 25, (Thursday, August 26, Philippine time) and topped the 2021 Grand Chess Tour (GCT) with one round to go in the Sinquefield Cup.
The draw assured So of at least a fourth-place finish in the event, putting him beyond the reach of second-running Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, No. 3 Vachier-Lagrave, and No. 4 Fabiano Caruana in the overall race of the GCT.
The uneventful eighth round saw all five games end in a draw, leaving Vachier-Lagrave alone at the top, followed by So, and fellow Americans Fabiano Caruana and Leinier Dominguez.
Vachier-Lagrave was at 5.5 points while So, Caruana, who drew with Peter Svidler, and Dominguez, who drew with Sam Shankland, have 5 points each in the $350,000 event being held over the board at St. Louis Chess Club in Missouri.
Despite the draw, however, So climbed to No. 6 in the FIDE (World Chess Federation) live ratings with an Elo 2778.
The games between Xiong and Mamedyarov, and Dariusz Swiercz and Richard Rapport also ended in draws.
So, the winner of the Paris Rapid & Blitz will battle Dominguez in the ninth and final round of the Sinquefield Cup on Thursday, hoping for a win that would put him in title contention.
Other matches pit Mamedyarov against Vachier-Lagrave, Svidler against Xiong, Rapport against Caruana, and Shankland against Swiercz.
Rapport has 4 points, followed by Xiong, Shankland and Mamedyarov with 3.5. Svidler has 3 points and Swiercz 2. – Rappler.com