Mamedyarov a draw away from Superbet Chess crown, So still in pursuit

Roy Luarca
Mamedyarov a draw away from Superbet Chess crown, So still in pursuit

FAINT HOPE. Wesley So still has a slim chance to win the Superbet Chess Classic.

Wesley So and two others are a full point behind leader Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in the race for the Superbet Chess Classic crown

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov drew with Anish Giri in round 8 and only needs another one in the last round on Monday, June 14, to move beyond the reach of Wesley So, Alexander Grischuk, and Levon Aronian in the Superbet Chess Classic at the Sheraton Bucharest in Romania.

A full point ahead of his chasers with 5.5, Mamedyarov needs only to force a truce with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave to capture the title in the kickoff leg of the Grand Chess Tour.

So, who settled for a standoff with Vachier-Lagrave; Grischuk, who drew with Fabiano Caruana; and Aronian, who caught up with a victory over Bogdan-Daniel Deac, are in must-win situations to keep their faint title hopes in the $325,000 (around P15.6 million) event.

“Obviously, I have to try to catch the leader (Mamedyarov),” said So in the post-round interview.

Though he is pitted against cellar-dweller Constantin Lupulescu, So could only promise to play “very well” on Monday.

Aronian and Grischuk are also seeking victories but are facing stronger opponents in Teimour Radjabov and Giri, respectively.

Radjabov drew with Lupulescu in the other round 8 match and was at 4 points with Giri.

Caruana, the world No. 2, will try to regain some (Elo) rating points when he tangles with Deac, the youngest in the 10-player field at 19.

After drawing his first four games, Mamedyarov surged ahead with 3 straight victories and has a lofty performance rating of 2888.

So, the former Philippine No. 1 and current United States champion, has 7 draws and 1 win for a 2803 rating. –