So shares lead with 3 GMs

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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.

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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

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