By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Grandmaster Wesley So turned back Russian Vladislav Artemiev, 2.5-1.5, and stayed in the title hunt after three rounds in the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Grand Finals Monday.
So banked on a marathon 85-move win in the third game – employing a Caro-Kann Defense – to claim a three-point win. They drew the rest of the three matches.
The third-round triumph hiked So’s tally to 18.5 points – still five points behind
Magnus Carlsen who secured a 2-point win over France’s Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.
The four-game duel between Carlsen and Vachier-Lagrave ended in a draw, thus requiring a deciding match which Carlsen won.
So will next face fellow US bet Hikaru Nakamura, who downed Armenia’s Levon Aronian, 3-1.
Other matches saw Jan-Krzysztof Duda of Poland besting Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan, 3.5-2.5; and Anish Giri edging Azerbaijan’s Teimour Radjabov, 3.5-2.5.
Aronian remains in third place with 12 points while Nakamura and Giri occupy fourth and fifth places with 10 and 9.5 points, respectively.
Radjabov is at sixth with 9 points followed by Vachier-Lagrave (8.5), Artemiev (5.5), Duda (5) and Mamedyarov (2.5).