• So-Nakamura match ends in draw


    The much-awaited Round 4 match between Filipino Grandmaster Wesley So and America’s No. 1 chess player GM Hikaru Nakamura ended in a draw after 56 moves of Queen’s Gambit at the continuation of the $175,000 US Chess Championships in Saint Louis, Missouri.

    So, 21, currently ranked No. 8 in the world with Elo live rating 2786.4, accepted the draw offer of Nakamura, 27, now world No.3 with Elo live rating 2800.7, after realizing that he could not take advantage of a pawn-up.

    When the draw was agreed, So, handling black pieces had two pawns on e6 and h6, and a rook on a2, while Nakamura had a pawn on a5 and a rook on e7. Their kings were not that apart, both disputing advantageous space.

    So is considered a threat to Nakamura who had been for a long time the top US Chess Federation player. The Filipino left the Philippine federation and joined the US Chess Club last November and turned professional. He also quit his studies at Webster University. All these decisions were in search for greener pasture and to fulfill his dream of becoming a world champion.

    All other matches in round 4 ended in draws, hence there was no changes in standings.

    So is still running third with 2.5 points, behind Nakamura and GM Ray Robson, who have 3 points each. Robson halved the point with GM Varuzhan Akobian in 27 moves of Petroff’s Defense.

    Five grandmasters have two points after four rounds namely Samuel Sevian, Gata Kamsky, Alexander Onischuk, Varuzhan Akobian, and Kayde Troff.

    Three players have 1.5 points, namely GM Samuel Shankland, GM Timur Gareev and GM Conrad Holt. GM Daniel Noroditsky has one point.

    In the fifth round, So will face Gareev, a well-known blindfold expert.

    Nakamura will test the mettle of Narodistsky, while Robson will go against Kamsky.

    Other pairings are Holt versus Troff and Shankland against Sevian, the Round 3 tormentor of So.


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