Grandmaster (GM) Wesley So grabbed the solo lead after eight rounds in the Open Section of the 24th Annual North American Open being held at the Bally’s Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.
So, who now represents the United States Chess Federation, has seven points on six wins and two draws in the $120,000- tournament which offers $10,000 to the champion.
The 21-year-old So split the point with GM Bu Xiangzhi of China after 82 moves of Sicilian Defense in the seventh round before agreeing to a draw with GM Julio Becerra of US on 18 moves of Ruy Lopez opening in the eighth round.
So outclassed FIDE Master (FM) Ali Morshedi of US in the first round, International Master (IM) John Daniel Bryant of US in the second round, IM Roman Yankovsky of Russia in the third round, GM Alex Yermolinsky of US in the fourth round, GM Sergey Erenburg of US in the fifth round and GM Zhou Jianchao of China in the sixth round.
After the 24th Annual North American Open, So will be competing in the prestigious 2015 Tata Steel Chess Tournament on January 9 to 25 to be held in Wijk aan Zee, Rotterdam and The Hague.
Meanwhile, IM Enrique Pacien-cia bagged the runner-up trophy in the 66th Singapore National Championships. Paciencia collected 7.5 points on seven wins, one draw and one loss. Chinese FM Liu Xiangyi took the crown with eight points.