Chess

Wesley So trounces Hans Niemann, increases Sinquefield Cup lead

Roy Luarca
Wesley So trounces Hans Niemann, increases Sinquefield Cup lead

FALLING SHORT. Wesley So is unable to protect his throne as overall champion of the Grand Chess Tour.

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Wesley So is now a full-point ahead of Alireza Firouzja, Ian Nepomniachtchi, and Fabiano Caruana with three rounds to go in the Sinquefield Cup

MANILA, Philippines – United States champion Wesley So ended Hans Niemann’s stunning run in the sixth round of the 2022 Sinquefield Cup on Thursday, September 8 (Friday, September 9, Manila time) and increased his lead in St. Louis, Missouri event.

Handling black, the Filipino-born So beat Niemann after 59 moves of a Petroff Defense and raised his total to 4 points, one up on Alireza Firouzja, Ian Nepomniachtchi, and Fabiano Caruana with three rounds to go in the $350,000 (around P20 million) event.

Firouzja, runaway winner of the Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz where So did not compete, tamed Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, while Nepomniachtchi and Caruana settled for a truce in the sixth round.

Levon Aronian bested Maxime Vachier-Lagrave to complete the round results as Leinier Dominguez drew a bye following the withdrawal of world champion Magnus Carlsen after a third-round loss to Niemann, who also subdued Mamedyarov in the second round.

The seventh round will be held Friday, with Mamedyarov pitted against Nepomniachtchi, Dominguez against Firouzja, Vachier-Lagrave against Niemann, and Caruana against Aronian.

It will be So’s turn to take a bye.

So pounced on an error by Niemann, the lowest-rated player in the field, in the 20th move to gain the initiative and eventually forced the 19-year-old American to surrender with his bishop and four pawns against Niemann’s knight and two pawns.

The event that serves as the fifth and last leg of the 2022 Grand Chess Tour dangles $100,000 (around P5.7 million) to the champion, with the last finisher receiving $10,500. – Rappler.com

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