Wesley So regains US Chess title, bags P2 million

Roy Luarca
Wesley So regains US Chess title, bags P2 million

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Living up to his top seeding, Wesley So emerges as the only unscathed player in the 12-man all-Grandmaster event

The title secured, Wesley So found no need to push for a win against fellow super Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura in the final round of the 2020 US Chess Championship on Thursday, October 29 (Friday, October 30, Philippine time).

Their game ended in a draw and So formally regained the crown he wore in 2017, thwarting the challenge of rising star Jeffery Xiong with another draw against Ray Robson in the 10th round.

So, the Philippines’ top player before switching to the US federation, moved beyond reach after the 19-year-old  Xiong was also forced to split the point with Alex Lenderman in the 10th.

Living up to his top seeding, So emerged as the only unscathed player in the 12-man all-Grandmaster event and finished with 9 points on 7 wins and 4 draws for a performance rating of 2801.

The 27-year-old So surged ahead by sweeping his first 5 games against Lenderman, Alejandro Ramirez, 17-year-old Awonder Liang, 2018 national champion Sam Shankland, and Dariusz Swiercz.  

After back-to-back draws with Lenier Dominguez and Sam Sevian, So continued his climb by trouncing Elshan Moradiabadi and Xiong, respectively.

 So, who played top board for Team USA in the first FIDE Online Chess Olympiad held from July to August, bagged $40,000 (P2 million). 

Last month, So banked $45,000 (P2.25 million) for sharing top honors with world champion Magnus Carlsen in the Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz tournament.

Xiong beat Ramirez in the 11th round to end up with 8.5 points, a point ahead of third placer Robson.

Dominguez, seeded second, closed out with a victory over Swiercz to place a distant fourth at 6 points. Shankland and Liang shared fifth place at 5.5 points.

Dethroned champion Nakamura, a five-time ruler of the annual event, posted 5 points with Sam Sevian.

Next up for So, the world’s Fischer Random king, is the Elite Speed Chess Championship in November. 

Being the defending champion, Nakamura is seeded No. 1, followed by Carlsen, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France, and So. –

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