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Wesley So cops Sweden chess title


MALMO, Sweden—Filipino grandmaster Wesley So defended with calm precision and came away with a crushing victory over Swedish GM Jonny Hector in the fifth and final round to finish in a three-way tie for first place in the Sigeman and  Co. chess  tournament at the Classical  Hipp Theater in this city Monday.

So finished with 3.0 points like defending  champion GM  Anish Giri of the Netherlands and GM Hans Tikkanen of Sweden in the six-player, round-robin tournament held for the  19th straight year.

No tiebreak was announced, although So had a performance rating of 2685, Giri had 2680 and Tikkanen 2710.

The 17-year-old Filipino champ, hardly bothered by his stunning fourth-round loss to Swedisg GM Nils  Grandelius, found the right reply against the relentless attack by Hector during the four-hour long  struggle.

Hector threw everything in his arsenal against So, even sacrificing a bishop and later a rook to flush out black’s king out of its safety abode. But the sacrifices did not matter in the end.

The  pride of Bacoor, Cavite, who is hoping to breach the Elo 2700 barrier this year, countered with his own attack and threatened mate in one when Hector finally called it a night.

Newly crowned Pichay Cup champion GM Darwin Laylo said So’s exceptional preparation with the French defense paid off during the surprisingly short but well-fought match.

Grandelius and top seed GM Alexei Shirov of Spain battled to a draw.

Shirov, the former world championship candidate who lost to So in the second round, finished solo fourth.

Other past Sigeman champs  were GM Tiger Person (2008), GM  Ivan Cheparinov (2007), GM Jan Timman  (2006), GM Krishnan  Sasikiran (2005), GM  Peter  Heine Nielsen  (2004), GM Vassily Ivanchuk  (2003),  GM Boris  Gulko  (2001), GM Judit Polgar (2000),  GM Boris Gelfand  (1999), GM  Joel  Lautier (1998), GM Viktor Korchnoi (1996),  and GM Ivan Sokolov  (1995).

Final standings:
3.0—W. So (Philippines),  A. Giri (Netherlands), H Tikkanen (Sweden); 2.5—A. Shirov  (Spain); 2.0—N. Grandelius  (Sweden); 1.5—J. Hector (Sweden)


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