Wesley So stuns Caruana, shares lead with Grischuk

Roy Luarca

TITLE HUNT. Wesley So surges to the top to get back on track of his championship bid.


Wesley So upsets world No. 2 Fabiano Caruana to grab a share of the lead in the Superbet Chess Classic

Wesley So and Alexander Grischuk subdued former leaders Fabiano Caruana and Bogdan-Daniel Deac, respectively, on Wednesday, June 9, to take over the helm in the Superbet Chess Classic.

Thoroughly familiar with Caruana’s style, So prevailed in 52 moves of an English Opening while Grischuk triumphed in 62 moves of over the board play at Sheraton Bucharest Hotel in Romania.

So, the reigning United States champion, and Grischuk climbed to 2.5 points after four rounds of the 10-man round-robin event serving as the first leg of the country-hopping Grand Chess Tour.

“I am a big fan of Caruana,” said So in the post-round interview. “I’ve been studying his games for the last two years.”

Handling white, So was two pawns up and stands to gain another pawn when the top-seeded Caruana, the world No. 2, resigned and stayed at 2 points with Deac, the Romanian wildcard who stunned Maxime-Vachier Lagrave in round 2.

Also with 2 points were Levon Aronian, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Teimour Radjabov, and Romanian No. 1 Constantin Lupulescu, conqueror of Anish Giri in round 3.

Giri and Vachier-Lagrave hogged the cellar with 1.5 points each.

Other fourth-round matches between Giri and Aronian, Vachier-Lagrave against Lupulescu, and Mamedyarov against Radjabov ended in draws.

The Filipino-born So aims to make it back-to-back when he tangles with the 19-year-old Deac, the lowest-rated player in the field with an Elo of 2627, in the fifth round.

Grischuk is pitted against Radjabov, Aronian against Vachier-Lagrave, Caruana against Giri, and Mamedyarov against Lupulescu.

His victory over Caruana, who failed in his bid to snatch the world crown against Magnus Carlsen in 2018, raised So’s ratings to 2776 and world ranking to No. 7 behind Grischuk. –