Wesley So opens Tata stint with a bang

A+
A
A-

Filipino Grandmaster Wesley So outmaneuvered Hungarian GM Richard Rapport Saturday (Sunday morning in Manila) to launch his bid in the super-tough Category A of the 76th Tata Steel Tournament Masters in Wijk aan Zee, the Netherlands.

So, the 20-year-old finance business sophomore at Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri, won with the black pieces in 56 moves of the Larsen Opening after Rapport (Elo 2691) resigned with a critical material disadvantage.

When the Hungarian surrendered, the top Filipino GM (Elo 2728) had two pawns, a queen and a bishop as against Rapport’s four pawns and queen.

So, the world’s 24th-ranked player with five international victories under his belt last year, had sewn up a ploy that would force an exchange of queens in a couple of endgame moves.

Other first-round winners in the round-robin Category A competition included second seed American GM Hiraku Nakamura, third seed GM Fabiano Caruana of Italy, and fifth-ranked GM Sergey Karjakin of Russia.

Nakamura (Elo 2786) outlasted German GM Arkadij Naiditsch (Elo 2737) in 65 moves of Nimzo-Indian defense, Caruana (Elo 2782) overwhelmed fourth seed Israeli GM Boris Gelfand (Elo 2777) in 30 moves of a Sicilian Najdorf Variation, and Karjakin (Elo 2756) bested Dutch GM Loek Van Wely (Elo 2678) in 60 moves of a Catalan Opening.

Top seed GM Levon Aronian of Armenia (Elo 2803) drew with Indian GM Pentala Harikrishna (Elo 2708) in 30 moves of a Giuco Piano Opening while sixth-ranked Dutch GM Anish Giri (Elo 2737) split the point with Cuban GM Leinier Dominguez (Elo 2754) in 31 moves of a Ruy Lopez Berlin skimirsh.

So, the Category C winner of the same tournament three years ago and third runner-up in Category B last year, next faces Nakamura in the second round.

The Tata Steel Chess has two main tourneys—Grandmaster group A with 12 players and Grandmaster group B with 14.

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • Karabukov

    Wesley So drew his game with second seed Hikaru Nakamura in the second round, a good result as Nakamura (ELO 2789) is way above Wesley’s current rating.

    • CmdrAdobo

      good start. hopefully he will win again Anish Giri, Gelfand, Harikrishna, Dominguez and draw with Aronian, Karjakin, Caruana.. He will have good chance to be in #2.

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94