Wesley So grabs Sinquefield Cup lead as Magnus Carlsen withdraws

Roy Luarca
Wesley So grabs Sinquefield Cup lead as Magnus Carlsen withdraws
Chess grandmaster Magnus Carlsen gives up early the Sinquefield Cup leadership to Cavite-born Wesley So as he plays less than half the required games to keep his standing in the tournament

MANILA, Philippines – Wesley So assumed top spot in the 2022 Sinquefield Cup on Monday, September 5 (Tuesday, September 6, Manila time), following the unexpected withdrawal of Magnus Carlsen in St. Louis, Missouri.

Beaten by Hans Niemann in the third round on Sunday, the top-seeded Carlsen did not appear for his fourth-round match against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and announced his withdrawal via Twitter.

The Bacoor, Cavite-born So, on the other hand, drew with Ian Nepomniachtchi after 25 moves of a Queen’s Gambit Accepted and raised his total to 2.5 points.

Niemann, who also drew with Alireza Firouzja, should have been the leader following his back-to-back victories over Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Carlsen, but with the world champion’s withdrawal, the 19-year-old American was relegated to 2.0 points.

Under tournament rules, Carlsen’s previous results will be stricken off the tournament standing as he didn’t complete 50% of his games.

Also with 2.0 points were Leinier Dominguez, who agreed to a truce with Levon Aronian; Nepomniachtchi; Firouzja, who drew with Niemann; and Fabiano Caruana, who rebounded from a third-round defeat to So by besting Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

So will try to keep the solo lead when he tangles with Aronian (1.0) in the fifth round on Tuesday. Other matches pit Niemann against Dominguez, Mamedyarov against Caruana and Vachier-Lagrave against Nepomniachtchi.

Firouzha drew a bye as there are only nine players left to contend for the $350,000 total pot in the event serving as the fifth and final leg of the 2022 Grand Chess Tour. –

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