• CHESS

    So scores crucial 5th round victory

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    Filipino Grandmaster Wesley So posted a crucial fifth round victory over Russian GM Vladimir Kramnik to get back on track in the 2017 Shamkir Chess-Gashimov Memorial Chess Championship being held at the Heydar Aliyev Center in Shamkir, Azerbaijan.

    So needed 65 moves of an English Opening to beat Kramnik and improve his score to 2.5 points.

    The 23-year-old Cavite native is in a four-way tie in fourth place with Kramnik, GM Sergey Karjakin of Russia, and GM Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria.

    GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of host Azerbaijan is leading solo with 3.5 points while GM Pavel Eljanov of Ukraine and GM Michael Adams of England are sharing the second spot with three points each.

    GM Radoslaw Mojtaszek of Poland and GM Teimour of Azerbaijan are No.8 with two points while GM Pentala Harikrishna of India is at the bottom with 1.5 points.

    So lost his opening game against Mamedyarov then drew his next three games against Adams (second round), Wojtaszek (third round) and Topalov (fourth round).

    So will be meeting Karjakin in the sixth round, Eljanov in the seventh round, Radjabov in the eighth round and Harikrishna in the ninth round.

    The other sixth-round pairings are Kramnik versus Mamedyarov, Adams versus Harikrishna, Wojtaszek versus Rajabov and Topalov versus Eljanov.

    So topped the 2017 US Chess Championship held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis in St. Louis, Missouri early this month and the 2017 Tata Steel Chess Tournament held in January in the Netherlands.

    EMIL C. NOGUERA

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