Mamedyarov pulls ahead of Wesley So, Grischuk

Roy Luarca
Mamedyarov pulls ahead of Wesley So, Grischuk

SLIPPING. Wesley So trails streaking Azerbaijani Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.


After settling for another draw, Wesley So faces must-win games in the next round to stay in the title hunt

Streaking Shakhriyar Mamedyarov subdued world No. 2 Fabiano Caruana and surged ahead of Wesley So and Alexander Grischuk in the Superbet Chess Classic Saturday, June 12 (Sunday, June 13, Manila time).

It was the third straight win after four draws for Mamedyarov, giving Azerbaijan’s top bet 5 points after seven rounds of over the board play at Sheraton Bucharest Hotel in Romania.

So settled for another draw with Azerbaijani No. 2 Teimour Radjabov, his sixth against one win, and was tied with former co-leader Grischuk at 4 points.

Grischuk tumbled against Levon Aronian for his first loss after 4 draws and 2 wins.

This development put So and Grischuk in must-win situations over Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Caruana, respectively, while hoping that Mamedyarov gets stalled by Anish Giri in Sunday’s eighth round.

Though out of the title hunt, Giri prevailed over Vachier-Lagrave on Saturday and climbed to 3.5 points in the company of Aronian, Radjabov, and Romanian prospect Bogdan-Daniel Deac.

The top-rated Caruana was mired at 3 points while Vachier-Lagrave and Romanian icon Constantin Lupulescu were at the cellar with 2.5.

The 19-year-old Deac held Lupulescu to a 75-move draw that ended early Sunday.

Other round 8 matches pit Deac against Aronian and Radjabov against Lupulescu.

Following his conquest of Caruana, Mamedyarov vaulted three rungs to world No. 5 with a live Elo rating of 2782.4. Caruana dropped to 2808.7 but remained world No. 2 behind Magnus Carlsen (2847).

Aronian was ranked sixth at 2779, Grischuk seventh (2776.9), Giri eighth (2776.3), and So ninth (2774.1). –