Who is this guy? Except for his hiccup earlier this month, Wesley So has been on an absolute tear going back to last year. With his third win in Shamkir, an impressive victory over Rauf Mamedov, So has taken over clear first in the tournament with 3.5/4, has scored 5.5 points from his last six games dating back to the end of the U.S. Championship, and has managed to recoup all of the points he had lost in the aforementioned tournament. If he keeps this up, he will be 2800 soon - possibly even before the end of the tournament.
But let's not get too far ahead of events in the real world. While he is in great form and defeated Mamedov in impressive style today, he still has to play Magnus Carlsen, Viswanathan Anand and Fabiano Caruana (among others) before he gets out of this tournament alive with his laurels. For now, though, he is half a point clear of Carlsen, who had pressure against Michael Adams but not enough to win. That game was drawn, as were all the other games not involving So. Vladimir Kramnik had white against Viswanathan Anand and thought he was pressing, but apparently unbeknownst to him he was following a correspondence game all the way to the point where the game was a dead draw.
Further back in the pack, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave drew with Caruana; the main excitement there was seeing someone resurrect Nadanian's interesting anti-Gruenfeld line with 5.Na4. Caruana wound up with an edge after the opening, but very quickly it became apparent that the only task was to reach move 40 or to engineer a repetition to satisfy the arbiters and the Sofia Rules. Finally, Anish Giri enjoyed a more serious edge at several moments in his game with Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, but that too petered out to a draw at the end of the first time control.
The games, with my notes to two of them, are here. The players have one more round before the rest day, and here are the pairings:
- Mamedov (1.5) - Adams (1)
- Anand (2) - So (3.5)
- Mamedyarov (1.5) - Kramnik (2.5)
- Caruana (1.5) - Giri (1.5)
- Carlsen (3) - Vachier-Lagrave (2)