AmericaFilipino-American player Wesley So finished first on the Grand Chess Tour one round early, receiving a prize of 100,000 USD.

All five games in the penultimate round of the Sinquefield Cup standard chess tournament – the final stage of the Grand Chess Tour – were drawn on the evening of August 25. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave remains at the top of the Sinquefield Cup with 5.5 points. Wesley So is still in group two with five points like Fabiano Caruana and Leinier Dominguez. Next is Richard Rapport with four points, and he will meet Caruana in the final game. If Rapport doesn’t beat Caruana in the final game, So will at least be fourth. And if Rapport wins against Caruana, So will at least be in third place with these two players. That ensures So will earn at least seven points from the Sinquefield Cup.

Wesley So in game eight met Vachier-Lagrave.  Photo: Lennart Ootes

Wesley So in game eight met Vachier-Lagrave. Photo: Lennart Ootes

On the Grand Chess Tour scoreboard before the Sinquefield Cup, So has 28.3 points, behind are Mamedyarov with 22.5 points, Vachier-Lagrave with 22 points and Caruana with 17 points. Sinquefield Cup winners get a maximum of 13 points. The minimum score So achieved overall on the Grand Chess Tour will be 35.3, while the maximum score for Vachier-Lagrave is 35.

Every year, the tournament selects four players with high scores through stages to enter the semi-finals and finals of the Tour Finals. But due to the influence of Covid-19, the organizers will always award prizes to the first places of the Tour after the last leg. Winning the Grand Chess Tour, So received an additional $ 100,000, not counting the rewards through the stages of this tournament system. This is the second time the 27-year-old player has won the Grand Chess Tour, after 2016. The Grand Chess Tour has taken place since 2015, so far there have only been two winners, So and Magnus Carlsen. Carlsen did not attend the Grand Chess Tour 2021, to prepare for the game to defend the Chess King title with Ian Nepomniachtchi at the end of the year.

So, Vachier-Lagrave, Caruana and Mamedyarov took part in four of the five stages of the Grand Chess Tour, while the rest of the Tour’s official players attended only two. They could not play the last two legs in St Louis, Missouri, USA, because of transportation difficulties.

The final round of the Sinquefield Cup took place on the evening of August 26 (about 3 a.m. August 27, Hanoi time). So, with a white piece, meets Dominguez, while Vachier-Lagrave with a black piece meets Mamedyarov. The first player will receive 90,000 USD.

Xuan Binh

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