Grandmaster (GM) Wesley So earned $20,000 for finishing third in the US Chess Championship won by GM Hikaru Nakamura. GM Ray Robson finished second.
The Filipino chess wizard, handling white pieces, disposed his last round opponent, 16-year-old GM Kayden Troff in 44 moves of seldom-used English Counter King’s Fianchetto.
So emerged as the player with most games won after crushing his last two opponents to tally six wins, four defeats and a lone draw. He drew with Nakamura in Round 4 and he lost to Robson in Round 6.
So overtook GM Alexander Onischuk who lost to No.1 American player Nakamura in the last round in 31 moves of Scoth Gambit.
Though So has the most games won, he also registered his personal record of the most number losses in a single tournament (four). He was beaten by 14-year-old GM Samuel Sevian in Round 3 and GM Conrad Holt in Round 8. His other loss was the forfeited ninth-round match against GM Varushan Akobian, which was halted after six moves.
So vowed to return in next year’s US national championship to challenge Nakamura who just annexed his fourth US championship crown. Nakamura won this tournament in 2012, 2009 and 2005, making him the longest reigning No. 1 chess player in America for more than a decade.