Super Grandmasters (GM) Wesley So and Hikaru Nakamura are picked to dispute the title in the 2020 US Chess Championship starting on Monday, October 26 (Tuesday, October 27, Manila time).
The Philippines' top player before he switched federation, So boasts the highest rating (Elo 2770) among the 12 players entered in the $150,000 (P7.5 million) event ending on October 29.
Performance-wise, however, Nakamura (Elo 2736) should give So a tight fight for the $40,000 (P1.6 million) top purse.
Apart from being the defending champion, Nakamura also won the US Championship in 2005, 2009, 2012, and 2015.
The 27-year-old So, on the other hand, ruled the event in 2017, succeeding world No. 3 Fabiano Caruana, who is an absentee in this year's edition, the first to be held online owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
Also entered is Super GM Leinier Dominguez (2758), young sensation Jeffery Xiong (2709), and Sam Shankland (2691), the 2018 winner.
Completing the roster in the round-robin event are GMs Ray Robson (2673), Sam Sevian (2660), Dariusz Swiercz (2649), Alex Lenderman (2634), Awonder Liang (2592), Alejandro Ramirez (2567), and Elshan Moradiabadi (2555).
The first 3 rounds will be on Monday with So facing Lenderman, Ramirez, and 17-year-old Liang in succession. – Rappler.com