UNITED States-based Filipino grandmaster Wesley So is close to improving on his no. 7 rank in the world rankings.
The 23-year-old So is bound to move up after making it to the semifinals of the FIDE World Cup of Chess in Tbilisi, Georgia. So, who was no. 3 many months ago, however lost the first blitz playoff in his semifinal game with China’s Ding Liren, 2.5-3.5.
So, who is from Bacoor, Cavite before he changed his federation affiliation in 2014, played to four draws before he gained an edge in the fifth game.
He was ahead with his rook and was up against Ding’s queen when he gave up in 69 moves of a Neo Gruenfeld Defense.
He is close behind Vladimir Kramnik (2788.7) with his ELO rating of 2787.8.
Meanwhile, Levon Aronian moved into a finals’ clash with Ding after he disposed of Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, 5-4. By virtue of reaching the final, Aronian and Ding qualified for the eight-man Candidates’ Tournament aimed at finding the challenger to no. 1 Magnus Carlsen in the next World Championship title match.
On the day of tie-break games, Aronian lost the first rapid game but hit back immediately to level the scores. The next four blitz games ended in draws.
Finally, in the Armageddon game, Aronian won with white pieces in 78 moves.
In the Armageddon game, a player with black pieces gets four minutes to white’s five and needs only a draw to be adjudged the winner.