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Wesley So strikes just in time to retain US Championship title

WESLEY SO
WESLEY SO

By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA

Timing is essential even in chess.

Grandmaster Wesley So proved this as he outwitted his rivals in a 3-man playoff and kept his US Chess Championship crown at the Saint Louis Chess Club in Missouri Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila).

So, who drew his previous four matched, first blasted Fabiano Caruana in 46 moves of an English Opening then bested Samuel Sevian in 33 moves of a King’s Indian Defense in the rapid round robin playoff round to capture the title and the $50,000 prize (roughly P2.5 million).

This was So’s third title after first winning the 2017 edition.

Caruana and Sevian shared second place and got $30,000 each.

So, Caruana and Sevian forged the playoffs after ending the 11-round regulation tied with identical 6.5 points.

The Cavite-born So finished the regulation with two wins and nine draws.

So cruised on top of the leaderboard after a seventh-round victory with John Burke and held on to it since then along with Sevian.

Caruana, for his part, climbed from seventh place in the sixth round to the top after racking up three wins and two draws in his last five matches.

Meanwhile, Leiner Dominguez Perez, Ray Robson and Aleksandr Lenderman shared fourth to sixth places with 6 points and went home with $15,000 each.

Sam Shankland finished seventh with 5.5 points and pocketed $9,000, while Dariusz Swiercz and Burke came in tied for eighth with 5 points for $7,500.

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Written by Tempo Desk

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