Filipino Grandmaster (GM) Wesley So settled for a draw in the second round to stay in a four-way tie on top in the 2017 US Chess Championship being held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis in St. Louis, Missouri.
So split the point with GM Samuel Shankland to improve his score to 1.5 points – the same output of fellow leaders GM Hikaru Nakamura, GM Alexander Onischuk and GM Varuzhan Akobian.
Nakamura also agreed to a draw with GM Fabiano Caruana in their second-round match while Onischuk and Akobian posted victories over GM Alexander Shabalov and GM Gata Kamsky, respectively.
The other second-round games between GM Ray Robson and GM Jeffrey Xiong, and GM Daniel Naroditsky and GM Yaroslav Zherebukh ended in a draw.
In the third round, So takes on Caruana, Nakamura battles Xiong, Onischuk faces Shankland, Akobian meets Naroditsky, Robson tackles Kamsky, and Zherebukh goes up against Shabalov in the 11-round tournament which offers a total prize fund of $194,000.
After battling Caruana, So will fight Onischuk (fourth round), Zherebukh (fifth), Akobian (sixth), Robson (seventh), Nakamura (eighth), Xiong (ninth), Kamsky (10th) and Naroditsky (11th).
The champion gets $50,000 and the runner-up takes home $35,000.
There are also cash prizes for the third to 12th placers.
The third has $25,000 then $20,000 for fourth placer, $15,000 for fifth, $10,000 for sixth, $9,000 for seventh, $8,000 for eighth, $7,000 for ninth, $6,000 for 10th, $5,000 for 11th and $4,000 for 12th.
EMIL C. NOGUERA