4th Rd 2009 SPICE Cup: So splits point with Azerbaijan GM

Sept. 23, 2009

4th rd 2009 SPICE Cup: So halves point with Mamedov
By Jaime Pilapil

Grandmaster Wesley So (Elo 2644) could only manage a draw against Azerbaijan GM Rauf Mamedov (Elo 2626) in the fourth round of the elite 2009 SPICE Cup being held at Texas Tech University.

Playing white, So registered his third draw, placing him in fifth place going to the fifth round in the six-man double-round robin grandmaster invitational category under the tutelage of Armenian-born GM Susan Polgar.

So, 16, and Mamedov, 21, were both in severe time pressure, forcing them to split the point in 47 moves of King Indian defense.

The Filipino will try to snatch the elusive first win in this tournament against 19-year-old Dmitry Andreikin (Elo2659), a junior champion in Russia. Andreikin’s 4th round game against Ukrainian GM Yuriy Kuzubov (Elo2631) also ended in a draw.

However, the fourth round’s most exciting match was between Norwegian GM Jon Ludvig Hammer (Elo2585) and American GM Varuzhan Akobian.

Playing white, Hammer, the 2nd round tormentor of So, nailed last year’s SPICE Cup co-champion Akobian in 46 moves of Tarrasch Defense, in an excellent display of endgame savvy.

With the win, Hammer now leads the pact with 2.5 points. Kuzubov and Andreikin also have 2.5 pts; Mamedov, 2; So, 1.5; and Akobian 1 point.

Fifth round’s other pairs are Hammer against Mamedov and Akobian versus Kuzubov.

The tournament is on its third year, an event where high-powered roster of young chess talents clash.

As usual, the next round will be held in the afternoon (Wednesday afternoon in Texas, Thursday early morning in Manila) right inside the university campus. -30-

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