GM So cops runner-up plum in Azerbaijan

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Filipino Grandmaster (GM) Wesley So settled for the runner-up trophy in the 2017 Shamkir Chess-Gashimov Memorial Chess Championship held at the Heydar Aliyev Center in Shamkir, Azerbaijan.

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The 23-year-old So, who represents the United States Chess Federation in international tournaments, collected five points in the nine-round meet.

He was in a three-way tie for the No. 2 spot with GM Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria and GM Vladimir Kramnik of Russia, who also earned five points each.

But So took the second spot by virtue of higher tie break points of 22 against Topalov’s 21.75 and Kramnik’s 20.50.

GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan bagged the top honors with 5.5 points.

GM Radoslaw Mojtaszek of Poland, GM Michael Adams of England and GM Sergey Karjakin of Russia were tied at fifth with 4.5 points apiece while Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan was eighth with four points.

GM Pantala Harikrishna of India and GM Pavel Eljanov of Ukraine both got 3.5 points for ninth place.

So had two wins, six draws and a loss in the tournament.

He opened his campaign on a wrong foot, losing to Mamedyarov in the first round.

So then posted three consecutive draws against Adams (second round), Wojtaszek (third round) and Topalov (fourth round) before nailing back-to-back victories over Kramnik (fifth round) and Karjakin (sixth round).

He agreed to a draw with Eljanov (seventh round), Radjabov (eighth round) and Harikrishna (ninth round) in his last three games.

So recently won the 2017 US Chess Championship held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis in St. Louis, Missouri and the 2017 Tata Steel Chess Tournament in the Netherlands.

EMIL C. NOGUERA

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