GRANDMASTERS Wesley So and Shakh Mamedyarov, two chessers who recently went up in the unofficial world rankings, continued to hold their ground in the 80th Tata Steel Chess Masters Tournament.
So, now ranked no. 3 in the unofficial FIDE rankings after posting back-to-back wins, played Anish Giri to a draw in 40 moves of a Queen’s Gambit Declined last Saturday at Wijk Aan Zee, the Netherlands.
A repetition of moves by his rook and knight forced So to split the point with Giri, allowing the 24-year-old Filipino playing for the US Team, to stay in a four-way tie for second spot behind Mamedyarov.
Giri and Vladimir Kramnik share second with So with 4.5 points, along with world no. 1 Magnus Carlsen.
Mamedyarov, who was ranked no. 13 last year and moved to no. 2 after Round 6, took the solo lead after he beat Wei Yi in 30 moves of a Catalan.
The 32-year-old Azerbaijani threatened to promote a passed pawn at endgame and when Wei resigned.
Mamedyarov tallied 5.5 points in the no. 1 spot.
Now with an ELO rating of 2817.5, Mamedyarov takes on Giri next and will look for a chance to improve on his record of four wins and three draws. The 32-year-old Mamedyarov broke the 2800-barrier for the first time in his career.
So, who now has an ELO rating 2797.9, will next meet Kramnik in Round 8 and now has two wins and five draws.
Carlsen, who has a live ELO rating of 2835.4, turned back Hou Yi in 55 moves of an Uncommon Opening.
In other games, Sergey Karjakin defeated Fabuano Caruana in 46 moves of a Queen’s Gambit Declined, while Kramnik stopped Viswanathan Anand in 36 moves of a Guioco Piano.
Kramnik and Anand are in third with four points.