• So secures solo lead in US Chess meet

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    Filipino Grandmaster (GM) Wesley So grabbed the solo lead after five rounds in the 2017 US Chess Championship being held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis in St. Louis, Missouri.

    So posted a crucial victory against GM Alexander Onischuk in the fourth round then split the point with GM GM Yaroslav Zherebukh in the fifth round to improve his score to 3.5 points on two wins and three draws.

    Zherebukh along with GM Daniel Naroditsky, GM Hikaru Nakamura, GM Varuzhan Akobian and GM Ray Robson are in a five-way tie for the No. 2 spot with three points each while Onischuk and FM Fabiano Caruana are sharing the seventh place with 2.5 apiece.

    GM Samuel Shankland, GM Jeffrey Xiong and GM Gata Kamsky have two points each while GM Alexander Shabalov is at the bottom with half a point.

    Kamsky toppled Xiong, Robson beat Shabalov and Akobian thumped Shankland in their fifth-round matches.

    The matches between Caruana and Onischuk, and Nakamura and Naroditsky ended in a draw.

    The tournament will employ a one-day break before resuming with the sixth round. The meet offers a total prize fund of $194,000 with the champion getting $50,000 and the runner-up taking home $35,000.

    In the sixth round, So battles Akobian, Caruana faces Kamsky, Naroditsky meets Xiong, Shabalov faces Nakamura, Shankland takes on Robson and Onischuk tackles Zherebukh.

    So’s next assignments are against Robson (seventh), Nakamura (eighth), Xiong (ninth), Kamsky (10th) and Naroditsky (11th).

    EMIL C. NOGUERA

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