Wesley So was held to a draw by Teimour Radjabov in the wild seventh round early Sunday even as world champion Magnus Carlsen finally took a piece of top spot in the all-Grandmaster Tata Steel Masters in Wijk aan Zee, the Netherlands.
Unable to gain headway with white, the Cavite-born So now representing the United States agreed to split the point with the Azerbaijani after 40 moves of a Queen’s Gambit Declined and dropped to joint third with French Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Chinese Ding Liren in the 14-player roster boasting an average Elo rating of 2746.
Both So (2762) and Radjabov (2734) have a rook and three pawns in the end.
Norwegian icon Carlsen (Elo 2860) cracked the defense of Chinese Hou Yifan, the reigning women’s titlist, after 54 moves of a Sicilian Labourdonnais and caught up with erstwhile solo leader Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine at 5.0 points.
Like So, Ivanchuk settled for a truce with local bet Anish Giri after a marathon 102 moves of a Queen’s Gambit Declined Semi-Slav.
Vachier-Lagrave pounced on a mistake by Croatian Ivan Saric to snatch a win in 32 moves of a Sicilian Najdorf.
Liren likewise exploited a blunder by Dutch Loek Van Wely to prevail after 79 moves of an English Symmetrical.
Georgian cellar-dweller Baadur Jobava finally snapped a four-game slide with a 37-move conquest of Poland’s Radoslaw Wojtaszek in their Bogo-Indian Defense encounter.
Wojtaszek, who rocked the round-robin tournament with victories over Carlsen and world No. 2 Fabiano Caruana (2820) of Italy in the third and fifth round, respectively, got mired at 4.0 points with Giri.
His fifth draw, coupled by victories over Aronian and Jobava, gave So a live rating of 2781 and ninth spot in the world rankings.
The 21-year-old So, inaugural winner of the Millionaire’s Open that rewarded him $100,000 last October in Las Vegas, was tangling with Ivanchuk (2715) in the eighth round that started last night.
Other matches pitted Van Wely (2.0 points) against Caruana (3.5); Hou (2.0) against Aronian (2.5); Jobava (1.5) against Carlsen; and Radjabov (3.5) against Wojtaszek.