So lands Division A slot in pinnacle tilt | Inquirer Sports

So lands Division A slot in pinnacle tilt

/ 09:47 PM January 03, 2014

Super Grandmaster Wesley So opens the new year with the biggest and most challenging  tournament of his career—the 76th Tata Steel Chess Championship from Jan. 10 to 26 in Wijk aan zee, the Netherlands.

Buoyed by his five titles last year, So will take on the world’s leading players as the ninth seed in the prestigious, 12-player competition, formerly known as Corus.

The 20-year-old Filipino, who vaulted to No. 25 in the recent Fide rankings with an Elo of 2727.6—the highest for a Filipino—is actually making his first appearance in Division A of the tournament.

“It will be another big challenge for me (to compete in Tata Steel),” said So, who made history by winning the country’s first-ever gold medal in the Summer Universiade, at its 27th games in Kazan, Russia, in July last year.


Tata Steel is one of the world’s strongest tournaments with a long list of champions that included newly crowned world champion GM Magnus Carlsen of Norway.

So’s perfect record last year included victories at the Reykjavik Open in Iceland in February, Calgary Classic in Canada in May, Las Vegas Chess Festival in the United States in June and 17th Unive Crown in the Netherlands in October.

He also served as coach of the star-studded US team in the World Chess Team Championship in Turkey last month.

A business and finance sophomore at Webster University-Missouri, So topped Division C of the Tata Steel tournament with 9.5 points in 13 games in January 2009.


He finished fourth with 7.5 points in Division B in 2010.

This year, So will face a star-studded field that includes Levon Aronian of Armenia (Elo 2803), Hikaru Nakamura of the US (Elo 2786), Fabiano Caruana of Italy (Elo 2782), Boris Gelfand of Israel (Elo 2777), Sergey Karjakin of Russia (Elo 2756), Lenier Dominguez of Cuba (Elo 2754), Arkadij Naiditsch of Germany (Elo 2737), Anish Giri of the Netherlands (Elo 2734), Pentala Harikrishna of India (Elo 2708), Richard Rapport of Hungary (Elo 2687), Loek van Wely of the Netherlands (Elo 2678).


Carlsen won last year with 10 points, 1.5 ahead of Aronian and 2.0 clear of Karjakin and Viswanathan Anand of India.

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TAGS: Boris Gelfand, Chess, Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, Levon Aronian, Philippines, Sports, Tata Steel, Wesley So

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