GM Wesley So
MANILA, Philippines – Wesley So split the point with Russian Maxim Matlakov in 30 moves of a Queen’s Gambit Accepted to remain in the middle of the pack after two rounds of the Tata Steel Chess Masters 2018 in Wijk aan Zee, the Netherlands Saturday.
Playing black, the Cavite-born, Minnetonka, Minnesota-based So tried to create some counter plays by giving up a pawn and later a knight but couldn’t get anything from it as Matlakov found all the answers to escape with a draw via repetition of moves.
The draw, his second straight after halving the point with Azerbaijan’s Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in 31 moves in the opening round the night before, however, kept So stranded in a six-way logjam at fifth spot with one point.
Dutch Anish Giri seized the solo lead by downing Russian Vladimir Kramnik for the former’s second straight win.
Reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen and Mamedyarov downed Indian Baskaran Adhiban and current women’s world champion Hou Yifan of China, respectively, to catch up on Vishwanathan Anand of India at No. 2 with 1.5 points apiece.
Anand drew with Russia’s Sergey Karjakin.
So was playing Karjakin in the third round at press time.
So is using this 13-round tournament as a last stop before going in full preparation for the Candidates Tournament set from March 10-28 in Berlin, Germany where the winner gains a title shot against Carlsen.