Wesley So bounces back in Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals Round 3

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Azerbaijan's former world chess champion and grandmaster Anatoli Karpov (L) and Norwegian grand master and current world champion chess player Magnus Carlsen (R) watch the match of Filipino chess player Wesley So (2-R) during the final day of the 79th edition of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament in the Moriaan sports hall in Wijk aan Zee on January 29, 2017. - Netherlands OUT (Photo by Koen SUYK / ANP / AFP) / Netherlands OUT / The erroneous mention appearing in the metadata of this photo by Koen SUYK has been modified in AFP systems in the following manner: Filipino chess player Wesley So instead of Chinese chess player Yi Wei. Please immediately remove the erroneous mention from all your online services and delete it from your servers. If you have been authorized by AFP to distribute it to third parties, please ensure that the same actions are carried out by them. Failure to promptly comply with these instructions will entail liability on your part for any continued or post notification usage. Therefore we thank you very much for all your attention and prompt action. We are sorry for the inconvenience this notification may cause and remain at your disposal for any further information you may require. - Netherlands OUT (Photo by KOEN SUYK/ANP/AFP via Getty Images)
Filipino-American Grandmaster Wesley So of USA. (Photo by KOEN SUYK/ANP/AFP via Getty Images)

Philippine-born Wesley So regained his winning form after prevailing over Vladislav Artemiev in the third round of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals on Tuesday (September 28, Manila time).  

Driven to bounce back from a second-round defeat to Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, the Filipino-American Grandmaster carved out a win and three draws against Artemiev for a hard-earned 2.5-1.5 result.  

"Very glad to win today," So, the 27-year-old native of Cavite, said.  

"Artemiev is a very difficult opponent. He was very resourceful and you can never understimate him, even when seconds on the clock. So, I figured today that anything can happen, but I'm very glad with the win and the three points," he added.  

So tightened his hold of the second spot with 18.5 points while gaining crucial ground in his bid to catch up to world champion Magnus Carlsen, who closed the third round with 23.5.  

Carlsen withstood a tough challenge from Vachier-Lagrave in a match that went into tiebreaks where the former emerged victorious following a strong finishing kick in the first blitz game and a match-clinching draw in the second.

Trailing behind the leaders in the standings is Levon Aronian. He remained in third place with 12 points, but a stinging defeat to Hikaru Nakamura in the third round blurred his chances of catching Carlsen and So.  

Nakamura's win 3-1 over Aronian pushes him to fourth in the leaderboard with 10 points.  

The rest of the matches in the third day of the competition went into tiebreaks.  

Jan-Krzysztof Duda and Shakrhiyar Mamedyarov figured in two draws and a win apiece before the former clinched the first blitz then formalized the win with a draw in the second.  

Another thrilling tiebreak match ensued between Teimour Radjabov and Anish Giri where the latter staged a comeback and went away with a win.  

Here is the rest of the standings after the third round: Giri with 9.5; Radjabov with 9; Vachier-Lagrave with 8.5; Artemiev with 5.5; Duda with 5; and Mamedyarov with 2.5 

The fourth round of the tournament shall start on Wednesday with the following pairings: Radjabov-Duda, Giri-Aronian, Nakamura-So, Vachier-Lagrave-Mamedyarov, and Artemiev-Carlsen.

Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.

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