Filipino Grandmaster (GM) Wesley So secured a spot in the second round of the prestigious 2017 World Chess Cup being held in Tbilisi, Georgia.
So, who represents the United States Chess Federation in international tournaments, outclassed GM Joshua Daniel Ruis Castillo of Colombia in the opening round via a 1.5-0.5 decision.
The 23-year old Cavite City pride arranged a second-round showdown with 66th seed Matthias Bluebaum of Germany who also posted a 1.5-0.5 victory over 63rd pick Sandro Mareco of Argentina in the opening round.
Not as lucky was Filipino GM Julio Catalino Sadorra who suffered a 0.5-1.5 loss to No. 28 Maxim Matlakov of Russia in his first attempt in the tournament, which employs a knockout system format.
Each match is a two-game event.
The organizers will use a deciding tiebreak game to solve the tie in case the match is leveled after the two regular games.
Also marching into the next round are seeded players GM Magnus Carlsen of Norway, GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France, GM Alexander Grischuk of Russia, GM Vladimir Kramnik of Russia, GM Levon Aronian of Armenia, GM Hikaru Nakamura of US, GM Fabiano Caruana of US, GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan and GM Ding Liren of China.
Carlsen beat GM Oluwafemi Balogun of Nigeria (2-0), Vachier-Lagrave ousted GM Muhammad Khunsenkhojaev of Tajikistan (1.5-0.5), Grischuk overpowered GM Essam El-Gindy of Egypt (2-0), Kramnik outplayed GM Dai Changren of China (1.5-0.5), Aronian clobbered GM Daniel Cawdery of South Africa (2-0), Nakamura blasted GM Abdullah Al-Rakib of Bangladesh (2-0), Caruana toppled Kenny Solomon of South Africa (2-0), Mamedyarov nipped GM Liu Guanchu of China (1.5-0.5), and Ding thumped GM Deep Sengupta of India (1.5-0.5).
A whopping $1.6 million in cash prize is at stake in the tournament with the champion getting $120,000 and the runner-up taking home $80,000.
In the 2015 edition, So reached the fourth round but lost to Vachier-Lagrave, 0.5-1.5.