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So settles for draw vs Spanish foe

GM Wesley So

MANILA, Philippines – Wesley So settled for a 29-move draw of a Sicilian duel with Spaniard Francisco Vallejo Pons to clinch a 1.5-.5 win and a spot in the Final 16 of the 2017 FIDE World Cup in Tbilisi, Georgia Sunday night.

A day after hammering out a quick, merciless 30-move win of a Caro-kann with the black pieces, So deliberately went for a series of exchanges and succeeded in doing that to force a match-clinching draw with Vallejo Pons.

With the win, So who disposed of Colombian Joshua Castillo and German Matthias Bluebaum in the first two rounds, advances to the fourth round against the winner of the showdown pitting 15th seed Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia and Baadur Jobava of Georgia, who split their two matches for a 1-1 deadlock.

Nepomniachtchi and Jobava were playing playoff games as of posting time to decide on who is playing So.

So, who is seeded second in this event that drew 128 participants, emerged the highest ranked player after top seed and reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen was shown the door following a shock defeat to Chinese Bu Xiangzhi, .5-1.5.

Two more fancied chessers fell following defeats by No. 4 Vladimir Kramnik of Russia to Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine, .5-1.5, and No. 7 Hikaru Nakamura of the United States to Vladimir Fedoseev of Russia, .5-1.5.

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So is seeking one of the two spots in the Candidates Matches and hopefully a crack at the world title currently held by Carlsen.

And it is starting to look good for So’s campaign following the early exits of Carlsen and some of the favorites.

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