Grandmaster (GM) Wesley So could only muster a draw in the penultimate round of Edmonton Chess Festival, making it almost impossible for him to clinch the title in his first attempt.
So settled for a draw against GM Irina Krush of the U.S. in 80 moves of English Opening. So has 6.5 points, while Krush has 3.5 points.
In solo lead now is GM Vassily Ivanchuk with 7 points. The Ukrainian smashed International Master (IM) Richard Wang of Canada in 33 moves of Old Benoni.
Another round eight winner was GM Samuel Shankland of the U.S. who dismantled IM Raja Panjwani of Canada in 49 moves of Sicilian Maroczy Bind. The American has 5.5 points, while Panjwani has 4.5 points.
So, however, has still a chance if he will win over FM Dale Haessel of Canada in the last round, and Ivanchuk will loose against Shankland. If this scenario will prevail, both So and Ivanchuk will finish with 7.5 points each. The winner of the tournament will then be settled through a tie break.
GM Anton Kovalyov of Canada crushed his compatriot FM Vladimir Pechenkin in 48 moves of Dutch System. Kovalyov has now 4.5 points, while Pechenkin remains at 3 points.