Defending champion Wesley So continued to share the lead with Alex Lenderman and Sam Sevian after the eight round of the 2021 US Chess Championships ended with a series of draws on Friday (October 15, Manila time) at the Saint Louis Chess Club in Missouri.
Handling the black pieces, the Filipino-American So, who caught up to the tournament leaders in the seventh round, repelled Sam Shankland's attacks in a Berlin endgame as both sides agreed to call a truce.
The 28-year-old pride of Cavite now holds 5.0 points, tied with Lenderman and Sevian, both of whom also settled for draws in round eight where they faced Darius Swiercz and Leinier Dominguez Perez, respectively.
The matches involving Fabiano Caruana-Jeffery Xiong; Ray Robso-Lazaro Bruzon Batist; and John Burke-Daniel Naroditsky all ended in draws.
Here are the standings at the end of the eight round: Dominguez and Robson possess 4.5 points to stand behind leaders So, Sevian and Lenderman; Caruana sits at 4.0 in his lonesome; Shankland, Bruzon, Naroditsky and Swiercz find themselves in a deadlock at 3.5; and Burke continues to accompany Xiong in the cellar with 3.0.
The US Chess Championships will have its last rest day on Saturday (October 16, Manila time) before action resumes for the ninth round on Sunday.
Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.