So battles Jobava to 54-move draw

By Joey Villar

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GM Wesley So

MANILA, Philippines – Wesley So fought local hero Baadur Jobava to a 54-move standoff of a Reti Opening to end up tied at 1-1 in their fourth-round duel of the FIDE World Chess Cup in Tbilisi, Georgia Wednesday night.

So, who is seeded second here but has sank to No. 8 in the world with a live rating of 2785 due to his surprisingly poor play recently, had little trouble in forcing Jobava to a closed position and a rook and pawn endgame and easily carved out the draw.

It was the second straight split for So and Jobava as the two halved the point in 40 moves of a Petroff the day before.

If it also ends up tied, they will play two more games of 10 minutes plus 10 second-increment and another tie would force two blitz games of five minutes plus three second-increment.

The final tiebreaker, if it comes to that, will be a single game called “Armageddon” where the two will draw odds where the one who will get the white pieces gets five minutes and no increment but must win to advance the other one the black pieces with just four minutes with no increment but could clinch the must with just a draw.

They were playing two more playoff games using rapid time control — 25 minutes each plus a 10-second increment — as of posting time with the winner clashing with either Vladimir Fedoseev of Russia or Maxim Rodshtein of Israel, who also wound up with a 1-1 tie after standard play.

Of the final 16 chessers left, only three had advanced to the quarterfinals — fifth seed Levon Aronian of Armenia, 11th seed Ding Liren of China, and No. 29 Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine.

Aronian downed Russian Daniil Dubov, 1.5-.5; Ivanchuk shocked No. 13 Anish Giri of the Netherlands, 1.5-.5, and Ding sent home compatriot Wang Hao, 1.5-.5.

So, now the player to beat after reigning world champion and top seed Magnus Carlsen was eliminated, is seeking for the win the top purse worth US$120,000 and one of the two berths in the Candidates Matches where he will have a chance to gain a crack at Carlsen’s crown.

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