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Wesley So finally found his winning touch and climbed into contention in the 2023 Tata Steel Masters on Friday, January 20 (Saturday, January 21, Manila time), in Wijk ann Zee, the Netherlands.
After settling for five straight draws, the Filipino-born So beat German Vincent Keymer with white after 51 moves of a Ruy Lopez, closed anti-Marshall variation, in the sixth round to raise his total to 3.5 points and share fourth to sixth places in the tournament hailed as the Wimbledon of Chess.
Uzbek prodigy Nodirbek Abdusattorov kept the lead in the single round-robin event with 4.5 points, followed by Dutch No. 1 Anish Giri and American ace Fabiano Caruana with 4 points each.
Abdusattorov, the 2021 world rapid champion at 16, drew with Indian R. Praggnanandhaa and so did Giri with Arju Erigaisi. Caruana trounced Indian Gukesh D.
Tied with So, the inaugural winner of the Chess.com Global Championship last November, were Praggnanandhaa and fellow Team USA member Levon Aronian, who split the point with world No. 2 Ding Liren of China.
Aronian, a four-time winner of the event, Erigaisi, and Ding were bunched at 3 points.
World champion Magnus Carlsen was held to a draw by Jorden van Foreest, the 2021 Tata Steel titlist, and remained in the bottom half of the 14-man field with 2.5 points.
Carlsen, the reigning champion and eight-time event winner, tumbled following back-to-back losses to Giri and Abdusattorov in the fourth and fifth rounds.
So will try to keep his bid to replicate his 2017 triumph in the event when he tangles with Gukesh, who shares the cellar with Keymer at 1.5 points.
Starting cold, So drew with Van Foreest, Erigaisi, Rapport, Aronian, and Caruana in succession. – Rappler.com