Filipino Grandmaster (GM) Wesley So notched a fifth-round victory over GM Varuzhan Akobian to gain a share of the lead in the 2016 US Chess Championship being held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis in Missouri, US.
The 22-year-old So improved his score to four points to join erstwhile solo leader GM Fabiano Caruana on top of the standings.
Caruana split the point with GM Alexander Shabalov in the fifth round of the tournament which offers a whopping $174,000 prize fund with the champion getting $50,000 and the runner-up receiving $35,000.
“These are very talented guys with strong drives, great talent and plenty of energy,” So posted on his official Facebook account.
Also scoring big wins were defending champion GM Hiraku Nakamura, GM Alexander Onischuk and GM Jeffrey Xiong.
Nakamura outclassed GM Samuel Shankland, Onischuk outplayed International Master Akshat Chandra, and Xiong stunned five-time US Chess champion GM Gata Kamsky.
The game between GM Ray Robson and GM Aleksandr Lederman ended in a draw.
Robson occupied the solo third with 3.5 points while Xiong, Nakamura and Onischuk are in a three-way tie for fourth followed by Shankland in seventh (2.5), Shabalov in eighth (2.0), Lenderman and Kamsky in ninth (1.5), and Akobian and Chandra in 11th (1.0).
The sixth-round pairings are So-Nakamura, Akobian-Lenderman, Kamsky-Robson, Chandra-Xiong, Caruana-Onischuk and Shankland-Shabalov.