MANILA, Philippines – Filipino Grandmaster (GM) Wesley So eyes his 5th straight win when he goes up against Chinese GM Li Chao on Tuesday’s 9th round of the 2011 Tata Steel Corus Group B chess championship in Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands.

So racked 4 wins against GM’s Surya Sekhar Ganguly of India (30 moves of French defense), Laurant Fressinet of France (42 moves of Neo-Gruenfeld defense), David Navara of Czech Republic (34 moves of Gruenfeld defense), and Wouter Spoelman of the Netherlands (34 moves of Nimzo Indian defense), in Rounds 5 to 8, respectively.

He opened his bid with 4 consecutive draws against GMs Le Quang Liem of Vietnam (36 moves of Slav defense variation), Gabriel Sargissian of Armenia (26 moves of Scotch defense); Jon Ludvig Hammer of Norway (63 moves of Queen’s Gambit declined); and, Zahar Efimenko of Ukraine (46 moves of Bogo-Indian defense), in Rounds 1 to 4.

The 17-year-old So, playing under the banner of National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) President/ Chairman Prospero “Butch” Pichay Jr., tallied total 6 points on account of 4 wins, 4 draws, half point ahead of GM Luke McShane of England who has 5.5 points.

“We expect another intense battle in Round 9. We hope manalo muli si GM Wesley (So) against GM Li Chao,” said Pichay, who watches the games live through Chessdom website.

McShane, on the other hand, settled for a truce with GM Gabriel Sargissian of Armenia after 39 moves of Slav defense. Sargissian tallied 5 points and was tied at 3rd to 5th place with GM Zahar Efimenko of Ukraine and GM Radek Wojtaszek of Poland.

Efimenko, who joined So and McShane in the leadership board in Round 7, lost to GM Vlad Tkachiev of France after 70 moves of Slav defense. Wojtaszek, meantime, toppled GM Le Quang Liem of Vietnam after 61 moves of Slav defense.

Other matches saw GM Laurant Fressinet of France split the point with GM David Navara of Czech Republic after 33 moves of Gruenfeld defense; GM Li Chao of China drew with GM Surya Sekhar Ganguly of India after 44 moves of English Opening; and GM Friso Nijoboer of the Netherlands also halved the point with GM Jon Ludvig Hammer of Norway. – By Marlon Bernardino