Filipino Grandmaster (GM) Wesley So opted to save his strength for a final title push in the 73rd Tata Steel-Corus Group B chess championship when he settled for a draw against French GM Vlad Tkachiev on Wednesday.

With six points from four wins, five draws and one loss, the 17-year-old So still shares the top spot with GM Zahar Efimenko of Ukraine. They hold a 0.5 lead over GMs Luke McShane of Great Britain, David Navara of the Czech Republic, Gabriel Sargissian of Armenia and Tkachiev going into the final rest day on Thursday.

Efimenko joined So on top of the leaderboard after beating erstwhile co-leader McShane at the de Morianne Community Center in Wijk Aan Zee, The Netherlands.

So agreed to halve the point with Tkachiev after finding little prospect of securing a win in the endgame.

Both So and Tkachiev had a queen, rook, knight, and bishop as their remaining pieces in an almost identical position.

After Thursday’s rest day, So is expected to go all out for a win against GM Friso Nijboer of The Netherlands, who is currently at the cellar with only three points to show.

So counted Nijboer as one of his victims when he bagged the Corus Group C crown in 2009. The Filipino defeated the Dutch in 67 moves of the Sicilian Taimanov variation.

So will have McShane and Polish GM Radek Wojtaszek as his last two opponents in the 13-round, 14-player, category 17 tournament. – JVP, KY, GMANews.TV