So takes solo lead in SPICE tourney
Monday, 01 November 2010 00:00

GRANDMASTER (GM) Wesley So of the Philippines easily manhandled GM Ray Robson of the United States to earn the solo lead on Sunday after three rounds in the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE) Championship at the University of Texas. So beat Robson in only 27 moves of the Sicilian to clinch his second straight victory and grab the solo lead with seven points based on the unique scoring system that gives three points for a win, one point for a draw and zero for a loss.

So, who is hoping to improve his fourth-place finish in his debut in this prestigious tournament last year, wisely blunted Robson’s mild threat and finished off the American with a neat endgame strategy.

Robson resigned right after he blundered with 27.Bf8, realizing he stands to lose his one of his two rooks on the fourth rank.

“I like my chances now, although there are still seven games left,” said So.

So, playing white for the second time in three games, took out Robson during the opening moves of the Sicilian, one of the most popular and best-scoring replies of black to white’s e4.

But So gained a pawn advantage right on the 13th move with a queen move and wisely spoiled Robson’s attacking chances by exchanging the white bishops five moves later.

The win was a fitting follow-up for So, who also won his second-round match against GM Eugene Perelshteyn (ELO 2528) of the United States on Saturday.

He drew with American GM Alexander Onishuk (ELO 2688) in the opening round Friday.

Overall, So has a two-point lead over top seed GM Zoltan Almasi (ELO 2707) of Hungary and GM George Meier (ELO 2659) of Germany in this 10-round, category-16.

In the fourth round Monday, So will face Meier, Almasi will meet Onischuk and Perelshteyn will battle Robson.



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