Wesley settles for draw with Georgian ace

By Joey Villar

MANILA, Philippines — Wesley So failed to hurdle Georgian Baadur Jobava and settled for a draw in the first game of their Final 16 duel in the FIDE World Cup in Tbilisi, Georgia Tuesday night.

The world No. 2 So, now the player to beat after reigning world champion and top seed Magnus Carlsen was stunned in the previous round, struggled trying to consolidate his attack on Jobava’s black fort as the local bet, noted for his aggressive style, opted to employ a cautious, positional game and forced the exchange of gueens and minor pieces to force a draw after 40 moves of Petroff Defense.

The 47th-ranked Jobava is expected to bank on his old sharp, attacking play as he handles the white pieces in the second game.

Jobava has pulled off king-sized upsets over heavily favored No. 18 Yu Yangyi of China (4-2) in the second round and No. 15 Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia (2.5-1.5) in the third.

So, in contrast, has dominated his first three rivals, disposing of Colombian Joshua Daniel Ruiz Castillo (1.5-0.5), German Matthias Blubaum (4-2) and Spaniard Francisco Vallejo Pons (1.5-0.5).

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