World Cup: So advances as Barbosa, Paragua fall


12:51 AM August 14th, 2013

August 14th, 2013 12:51 AM

FILIPINO Grandmaster Wesley So drew with Turkish GM Alexander Ipapov on Monday (Tuesday in Manila) and advanced to the second round of the 2013 World Chess Cup in Tromso, Norway.

So (Elo 2710) beat Ipapov, the reigning world junior champion, in Sunday’s inaugurals, 1.5-0.5, in their two-game standard play and avoid the early exit suffered by countrymen GMs Oliver Barbosa and Mark Paragua.

Barbosa and Paragua bowed to GM Le Quang Liem (Elo 2712) of Vietnam and GM Dmitry Jakovenko of Russia (Elo 2724), respectively, by similar 0-2 scores.

The 19-year-old So will tangle with either GM Evgeny Tomashevsky (Elo 2709) of Russia or GM Alejandro Ramirez (Elo 2583) of the United States in the second round set Wednesday.

Tomashevsky and Ramirez battled to a 2-2 count and will settle the outcome by rapid playoff late Tuesday.

Thus far, So, a finance business freshman at Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri, has matched his showing in the 2011 Khanty-Mansiysk World Cup, where he was ousted by top seed Ukrainian GM Sergey Karjakin via blitz tie-break in the second round.

So built his reputation as a rising star in the 2009 World Cup, also held in Khanty Mansiysk, when he barged into the fourth round after waylaying former world championship candidates GM Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine and GM Gata Kamsky of the United States in succession.

Russian GM Vladimir Malakhov eventually stopped So in rapid tie-break of their fourth round showdown.

Top seed GM Levon Aronian (Elo 2813) of Armenia also cruised into the second round with a 2-0 shutout of Mikhail Markov (Elo 2304) of Kyrgyzstan.

Other notables who advanced were second seed GM  Fabiano Caruana (Elo 2796) of Italy,  third seed GM Valdimir Kramnik of Russia, fourth seed GM Alexander Grischuck of Russia and fifth seed GM Hikaru Nakamura.

Asian Zone 3.3 president and 7th district Cavite Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino Jr., lauded So’s triumph.

“Wesley So deserves attention in the Philippines because he is so young and a good inspiration,” said Tolentino, a longtime backer of So.

The country’s World Cup campaign is supported by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines headed by Prospero “Butch” Pichay Jr., the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee. Roy Luarca

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