Defending champion Grandmaster (GM) Wesley So posted a crucial 11th-round victory in the 2018 Tata Steel chess tournament being held in Groningen, the Netherlands.
The 24-year old Cavite City pride outclassed GM Gawain Jones of Great Britain to ascend to No.5 with 6.5 points.
He is sharing the No. 5 position with Russian GMs Vladimir Kramnik and Sergey Karjakin that each carries 6.5 points.
Three-time Tata Steel titlist GM Magnus Carlsen of Norway, GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan and GM Anish Giri of the Netherlands are in a three-way tie for No.1 with 7.5 points apiece.
GM Viswanathan Anand of India is currently solo fourth with seven points.
Mamedyarov and Carlsen agreed to a draw while Giri also split the point with GM Fabiano Caruana of US in their respective 11th-round games.
On the other hand, Anand scored an important win against GM Hou Yifan of China in their match in the tournament that offers 10,000 euro to the champion and 6,500 euro to the runner-up.
GM Peter Svidler of Russia is No.8 with five points while Caruana, GM Wei Yi of China and GM Maxim Matlakov of Russia are sharing No.9 with 4.5 points each.
Jones dropped toNo.12 with four points followed by GM Baskaran Adhiban of India (3.5) and Hou (2.0).
To retain the title, So must win against Anand in the 12th round and Hou in the final round and hope that Carlsen, Mamedyarov and Giri lost in their remaining games.
Meanwhile, Filipino FIDE Master Nelson Villanueva ruled the Faris Petra International Open Rapid Chess Championships held in Pengkalan Chepa, Kelantan, Malaysia.
Villanueva was undefeated in nine games to win the crown.
He bested Malaysians Irfan Syahmi Mohd Pin, Nurhidayah Irsalina Mohd Jaya,Wan Aimullah Mohd Azruddin, Che Wan Aminu En Wan Kamaruddin, Wan Mohd Azmie Wan Abd Rahim, Muhd Zuhair Jumaat, Fong Mi Yen Nor Azmi Mohd Nor and Syed Azizi Abdul Rahman.