MANILA, Philippines - GM Wesley So eked out a marathon 69-move victory over Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi to gain a share of the lead with Israeli Emil Sutovski in the ACP Golden Chess Classic in Bergamo, Italy yesterday.
The 20-year-old So, who is set to hand the US team in next month’s 41st Chess Olympiad in Tromso, Norway, outplayed Nepomniachtchi in a rare variation of an English Opening and pulled through in a razor-sharp pair of bishops endgame.
The 24-year-old Nepomniachtchi, a former Russian and European champion and a World Blitz Championship runner-up, resigned as So poised to promote his central passed pawns.
Sutovsky, the 2001 European champion who also heads the organizing ACP, made it to the top first by beating Georgia’s Baadur Jobava in just 21 moves of their Sicilian encounter.
So and Sutovsky share the early lead at 1.5 points.
So and Sutovsky fought to a 23-move standoff in a King’s Indian Attack in Sunday’s opening round.
The win also gave So some rating points that catapulted him from No. 15 the d