MANILA, Philippines – Wesley So couldn’t win on demand Thursday, April 21 (Friday, April 22, Philippine time), settling for a draw that pushed Sam Sevian to the championship bracket of the 2022 American Cup at the Saint Louis Chess Club in Missouri.
Stunned by Sevian in their first match on Wednesday, So was in a must-win situation with black in Game 2. The back-to-back United States champion, however, couldn’t break through Sevian’s tight defense and agreed to a truce that relegated him to the elimination bracket of the eight-man $300,000 tournament.
The Bacoor, Cavite-born So was the lone higher-rated player to fall as top seed Levon Aronian, second seed Fabiano Caruana and fourth seed Leinier Dominguez subdued their opponents.
Aronian and Dominguez needed to go through tiebreakers to oust Ray Robson and Sam Shankland, respectively.
After winning Game 1, Aronian bowed to Robson in Game 2, forging the rapid tiebreakers. Aronian took the first game and held Robson to a draw in the second.
Dominguez and Shankland drew their first two classical games and the Game 1 tiebreaker before the Cuban-born Dominguez won the second tiebreaker.
Caruana and Xiong drew their first four games, necessitating the Armageddon decider, where Caruana found himself in a hopeless position before Jeffery Xiong ran out of time.
Aronian and Dominguez forged a semifinal showdown and so did Caruana against Sevian, who barged into the Elo 2700-club for the first time with his victory and draw over So.
The 21-year-old Sevian gained 7.4 points to boost his rating to 2700.4. So, on the other hand, dropped to 2765.6 and No. 9 in the world following his disappointing performance against Sevian.
So, winner of the FIDE Grand Prix third leg early this month will be joined by Robson, Xiong and Shankland in the elimination bracket staking $25,000 to the champion.
The champion gets $50,000. – Rappler.com