MANILA, Philippines - Wesley So drew with former world challenger Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine via perpetual check in 27 moves of a Sicilian Defense to virtually clinch the crown with a round to go in the Capablanca Memorial 2014 at the Habana Riviera in La Havana, Cuba yesterday.
The standoff practically secured the 20-year-old So the crown regardless of the result of his 10th and final round duel with defending champion Zoltan Almasi of Hungary today.
After nine rounds, So has six points, a full point ahead of Lazaro Bruzon Batista of Cuba, who halved the point with Almasi in 52 moves of a Guioco Piano, with five points.
If So loses to Almasi and Bruzon beats countryman top seed Leinier Dominguez Perez, the two will end up tied at No. 1. But the Webster U standout will still clinch the championship due to a superior tiebreak score.
So’s victory is expected to propel him to No. 15 in the world ranking with a live rating of 2744.9.