So’s victory means he returns as world number 10, according to computations at Live Chess Ratings
MANILA, Philippines – One year after he quit school and left the Philippines to play for the United States, Wesley So won the strongest tournament of his career by disposing of his nemesis in Bilbao, Spain.
So defeated Anish Giri of the Netherlands in a two-game blitz playoff to capture the Bilbao Masters early Monday, November 2 (Manila time). It was a tough playoff, according to the press statement.
In the first playoff game, it said “even with a noticeable mistake made in the beginning, So has been able to overcome his mistake and win the first mini-match.”
In the second playoff game, “when all the clues seemed to lead to Giri´s win with the white pieces, a completely unexpected move on So´s part, gave him the opportunity to end in a tie, resulting this into his victory of the tournament.”
The statement referred to a crucial position in the 39th move where So stood to lose his queen but could obtain some play as he would obtain rook and bishop for a queen. White still had the advantage but would have to work to expand his superiority.
The tournament, billed as a youth versus experience event gathered So (22 years old), Giri (21) and Ding Liren of China (23) against Viswanathan Anand, 45, a former world chess champion.
So’s victory also means he returned as world number 10, according to computations at Live Chess Ratings. He has an Elo rating of 2774. Giri dove to number 7 with a 2782 Elo rating and Ding Liren, ranked 9th with 2776.
Giri owned So with a 3-0 lifetime score going into this year but So won for the first time at the Gashimov Memorial in Azerbaijian.
But So’s rising reputation and world rank of 7th took a big hit at the Sinquefield Cup in St Louis where the top players assembled. So finished last and secured “reverse fame” with two of his losses described as masterpieces of attack by his opponent.
So rebounded in Bilbao by sacrificing his Queen for 3 pieces against Ding Liren and more importantly, he played solidly and did not embark on rash adventures which doomed him at the Sinquefield Cup.
So’s next tournament is next month in Qatar, a Swiss System tournament where world champion Magnus Carlsen is playing. – Rappler.com