WESLEY So underscored his status as US No. 1 chess player by topping the 2017 US Championship with a 1.5-0.5 victory in a rapid playoff with former champion Alex Onischuk.
A former Philippine national team member, Grandmaster So won with white in 31 moves of an English Opening on Monday in St. Louis, Missouri (Tuesday, Manila time).
The players locked horns anew after just a 10-minute break, and So managed to split the point with Onischuk after 62 moves of a King’s Indian Attack.
The 23-year-old So bagged US$50,000 (around P2.47 million).
Onischuk settled for $30,000.
So drew with Daniel Naroditsky in the 11th round to end up with seven points, while Onischuk wound up in the playoff after drawing with Gata Kamsky.
Varuzhan Akobian also had a chance to take the win in the 11th round but lost to Hikaru Nakamura.
Akobian, Nakamura and Fabiano Caruana baged $20,000 each.