After taking a guarded stance in round 4, Wesley So is expected to be more aggressive when he tangles with Lazaro Bruzon in round 5 of the 2021 US Chess Championship on Monday, October 11 (Tuesday, October 12, Philippine time) at the Saint Louis Chess Club in Missouri.
Playing cautiously on his 28th birthday, So settled for a draw with top seed Fabiano Caruana on Saturday before the all-Grandmaster tournament being held over the board took a break on Sunday.
Now, So needs a win to boost his title-retention bid in the event he ruled with 9 points and in unbeaten fashion last year.
So, formerly the Philippines’ top player before he migrated to the United States, is lodged at 2.5 points with Caruana, Leinier Dominguez, Aleksandr Lenderman, and Sam Sevian, half a point behind pacesetter Ray Robson.
Though he’ll be handling black, So is favored over the ninth-ranked Bruzon, a five-time Cuban and former World Junior champion who has 2 points thus far.
Other fifth-round matches pit Robson against Dariusz Swiercz (1.5 points), Caruana against Daniel Naroditsky (1.0), Dominguez against John Burke (2.0), Sevian against Lenderman, and 2018 US titlist Sam Shankland (1.5) against Jeffery Xiong (0.5).
Like So, Robson, Caruana, Dominguez, and Shankland are tipped to prevail over their opponents and stay in the chase for the $50,000 (P2.5 million) top purse. – Rappler.com