Philippine-born Grandmaster Wesley So could not capitalize on world champion Magnus Carlsen's first loss in the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals after falling to Hikaru Nakamura in the fourth round on Wednesday (September 29, Manila time).
The two American grandmasters played out a disappointing four quick draws in rapid before the match swung into the blitz playoff.
With three points up for grabs for a win and a chance of cutting down Carlsen's lead down to two, So seemed to show that he was uninterested to close the gap on the tournament leader, at least in this round.
Despite the loss, the 27-year-old Cavite native held on to second place with 19.5 points, four points behind Carlsen, who settled for a stagnant 23.5 after losing to Russian Vladislav Artemiev.
Artemiev played with aggression as he wrested control of the match and sent the fancied Norwegian crashing for the first time in the Tour Finals with a 3-1 result.
Meanwhile, Armenian Levon Aronian, who suffered a stinging defeat to Nakamura a day ago, vented his ire on Danish Anish Giri with a 3-1 victory.
Azerbaijani Teimour Radjabov also made a bounce back effort in the fourth round after prevailing over Polish Jan-Krzysztof Duda of Poland, 2.5-0.5.
For his part, Azerbaijani Shahriyar Mamedyarov quenched his losing drought in the Finals and clinched a breakthrough win at the expense of French Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, 2.5-0.5.
Here is the rest of the standings after the fourth round: Aronian with 15; Nakamura with 12; Radjabov with 12; Giri with 9.5; Vachier-Lagrave with 8.5; Artemiev with 8.5; Mamedyarov with 5.5; and Duda with 5.
The tournament will swing into a fifth round on Thursday (September 30, Manila time) with the following pairings: Duda-Vachier-Lagrave, Mamedyarov-Artemiev, So-Giri, Aronian-Radjabov, and Carlsen-Nakamura.
Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.
Watch more videos on Yahoo: