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).
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)