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So Leads ACP Golden Classic After Round 5

  • FM MikeKlein
  • on 7/18/14, 7:19 AM.

After five rounds of the ACP Golden Classic in Bergamo, Italy, new American player GM Wesley So leads with 3 out of 4.

A bit of explanation is needed -- the tournament comprises seven players, so every round one player sits out. In addition, adjournments are possible, and in fact two are pending, so some of the players have officially only played 3 games out of 5 rounds.

This is So's first tournament since he announced his intention to change federations from the Philippines to the U.S., where he attends college. He will not play for the U.S. at next month's Olympiad, but he will serve as the coach of the open team.

GM Wesley So, the new American #2 (photo courtesy Antonio Milesi)

So won in rounds two and three to charge to the front. In round two, he won a long double-bishop ending against GM Ian Nepomniachtchi. White's "hook" of pawns that spanned c3-c4-d5-e4 was successfully immobilized and destroyed.

The final position is lost for White since Black's light-squared bishop is finding a path to control g2, and the pawn will advance.

After the game, So explained that he was surprised starting at move 1:

"He was playing quickly...then he started to think," So said. "I think when I played ...h6 I got him out of preparation. I got a fine position out of the opening. His pawns on the kingside were a bit overextended. It became a weakness in the endgame."

So added that since the time control is longer (40 moves in 150 minutes, then 16 moves in 60 minutes, then SD/15 +30 seconds per move), and adjournments occur after move 50, playing quickly is not the best strategy.

GM Wesley So has now crossed 2750 on the live ratings to world #13 (photo courtesy Lennart Ootes).

The following round So won again, this time over 6th-seeded Italian GM Daniele Vocaturo in their first-ever meeting. Back in the early 1990s, GM Garry Kasparov began using the main line King's Indian Defense to annihilate top players, but So had yet to be born. That may help explain his fearlessness in taking up the White side and allowing a piece sacrifice.

Also in round three, GM Sabino Brunello mercilessly ripped open GM Emil Sutovsky's king and won in only 25 moves.

"I just remember the Ng5 idea, followed by f3 and g4," Brunello said after the game. "I couldn't remember much more. I believe the plan is quite correct for the position. He didn't know much more than me, in fact maybe less, which is quite surprising because he an expert in this opening."

As for the final position, with a wedge pawn on e6, queen bearing down on the h-file, rook on the g-file, and helper knight, you might compare it to a quite famous game. Ivanchuk-Yusupov, Brussels 1991, is nearly a carbon copy with colors reversed (that game was voted best of the first 64 issues of Informant from 1964-1995).

Also making a move is GM Baadur Jobava. After being beaten in 21 moves by Sutovsky in round two, he has now won two straight to get to 2.5/4, and only a half-point behind So.

GM Baadur Jobava (photo courtesy Lennart Ootes)

The first win was a creative effort against Nepomniachtchi.

The following round he won quickly with a well-timed exchange sacrifice in the endgame. As you can see, guessing Jobava's opening choice is usually an exercise in futility.

"Daniele missed some moves in the critical moments and I obtained a better position," Jobava said. "After that I kept the pressure in the endgame and I finally managed to win."

So drew GM Zoltan Almasi in round four.

In round five, it was So's turn to sit out. Two games ended in adjournments, including Jobava's game with Almasi. Chess fans that don't remember the days of adjournments may want to read this explanation.

Almasi and Jobava seal their moves to start the adjournment. They'll resume their game tomorrow.

In today's round six, the critical game is between the two leaders, So and Jobava. So is technically ahead by a half point, but with the consensus that Jobava is winning his adjourned game, So may actually be down a half point. However, Jobava is the only player yet to sit out (he won't play round seven), meaning So has an extra game to either pull further ahead, or catch up, depending on how you want to look at it!

So's face of concentration (photo courtesy Antonio Milesi)



UPDATE: So beat Jobava in round six to move to 4/5 and ended Jobava's chances to win the tournament. A draw in the last round will clinch first place for So.

7605 reads 28 comments
7 votes

Comments


  • 5 months ago

    FilipinoChess

    @chuckiemann

    okay, thanks and take care.

  • 5 months ago

    Chuckieman

    @FilipinoChess

    I have nothing against Wesley So's transfer to the USCF, in fact, I support it.  Read my previous post.  I just think the caption is factually incorrect, that's all.  I don't want to argue with you.  We both support Wesley So and wish him the best in representing the USCF.  Lets agree to leave it at that and move on.

  • 5 months ago

    FilipinoChess

    @chuckiemann

    "is the new number two player" this is awful writing. Just because you don't like GM So to be called an American.

  • 5 months ago

    Chuckieman

    @FilipinoChess

    That's why I said "Wesley So is the new #2 player representing the USCF"

    If Caruana wanted to represent the USCF, I would've said "Wesley So is the new #3 player representing the USCF"

    Fabiano is both American and Italian.  Fabiano himself says he is both American and Italian.  But he chose to represent Italy.  Dual citizens can only play for one team.  Does not mean he's not an American?  Nope.

  • 5 months ago

    FilipinoChess

    @chuckiemann 

    Forget about GM Caruana, he has already decided a long time ago which country he wants to play for and that is Italy. 

  • 5 months ago

    Chuckieman

    @FilipinoChess

    I am happy that Wesley So chose to play under the American flag.  As a member of the USCF, I welcome him and will cheer for him when he plays for our country.  I root for him even if he says he wants to play under our flag for professional reasons only.  I understand and respect that.  We don't need to paint him in Red, White, and Blue and drape him in the American flag for us to accept him.  He is already accepted and welcomed, even as a Filipino that wants to play for us.

    But it is technically and factually wrong to say that he's the #2 American in the world, because he is not, for the 3 reasons that I have stated already.  I studied in the UK for 2 years to get my masters, and during that time I was still an American on a student visa.  I don't consider myself a Brit, and nobody considered me a Brit.  I was simply an American student studying in Britain.  And how can he be the new American #2 if Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura (both Americans) are above him?  Wesley So is the new #2 player representing the USCF, but not the #2 American in the world.

  • 5 months ago

    FilipinoChess

    @chuckiemann most Americans are a result of people all over the world moving to America to live in this great country. The technicality involved in being called rightfully an American or not is a mundane legal issue. GM So wants to play under an American flag is that not enough?

  • 5 months ago

    Chuckieman

    The caption "GM Wesley So, the new American #2" is wrong on so many levels.

    1. Wesley So wants to be identified and addressed as a Filipino.  He has stated that he is changing federations for professional reasons only, but he still wants to be called a Filipino.  He himself is quoted saying that he is Filipino and will always be Filipino at heart.  If he himself wishes to be identified as a Filipino, who are we to paint him as an American?

    2.  He is currently on a student visa and is classified as a foreign alien by the US government.  Technically speaking, he is still a foreign alien.

    3. Fabiano Caruana has dual citizenship (USA and Italy) and was born in the US.  Technically speaking, Caruana is an American even though he does not represent the US in international chess.  It's incorrect to say that Wesley So is the #2 American, because that would incorrectly suggest that Caruana is not an American.  Fabiano is both American and Italian, as he proudly holds two passports.  In a recent video interview for an article on chess.com, Fabiano has said that he still holds dual citizenship, and he has not given up his American citizenship.  Technically speaking, Caruana is both Italian and American.  Just because he is playing for Team Italy doesn't mean he's not an American anymore.  That would mean that Wesley So is not the second best American in the world.   The caption "GM Wesley So, the new #2 player representing the USCF" would be more appropriate.

  • 5 months ago

    inselschaker

    @Jhorwin: Yes, the role of engines may have been one reason why adjournments were abandoned - while other reasons (need for extra rest days, unclear tournament table situation, extra travel if games in team events are adjourned) might also have played a role. At the limit, there is more fairness in adjournments now than in the old days: currently, both players can use engines [cases where it makes a difference to have a 'future' version of Houdini or a supercomputer rather than a laptop should be extremely rare]. Some 20 years ago, it depended on who has stronger (or more dedicated, harder-working) seconds - BTW also at amateur level: a 1900ish player from a third club team may get help from 2200ish players, unlike his opponent from the first team of his club.

    The situation doesn't really change (at least not for the better) for the player who sealed his move: if this move is strong and unexpected, the opponent's engine will find it as well as a conceivable only move response.

    On balance, even if adjournments were _generally_ abandoned for a reason, juliakoy's points make sense to me. With games finishing in one session, endgames may lead to permanent time trouble (one or both players solely relying on increments) - which favors the younger, physically fitter player or the better rapid/blitz player even under (nominally) classical time controls. Hence, I see no problem in re-inventing adjournments in occasional experimental/exhibitional events.

  • 5 months ago

    Jhorwin

    @inselschaker

    Have you forgotten that the one who sealed the move can also consult an engine? Wake up dude! Remember that we are not talking about the initial opening position here where the chance is balanced. Usually in adjourned games the position is imbalanced with big advantage on one side. An engine doesn't just tell a winning evaluation. It also shows the Principal variation. A few exploration of some alternative lines is not hard to keep in mind. Even if you no longer have engine access during the game, your knowledge about the position score alone is enough clue about what kind of moves to find. My God I can't believe im explaining this. Even ordinary masters know what im talking about. for the same season why adjournment is no longer allowed in all major tournaments. (except this ofcource)

  • 5 months ago

    inselschaker

    @Jhorwin: You make it seem as if analysing an adjourned position merely means switching on an engine that will then present a forced win (out of reach for human players). But how likely is it that there is a forced win, exactly coinciding with adjournment, working against any sealed move by the opponent?

    If Bergamo and, two years ago, Amsterdam, is too small a sample: how often does it happen after exactly five hours - in GM games or in (your own) amateur games?

    BTW (hardly mentioned): the rationale behind adjournments in this event probably isn't just to have adjournments. It also permits slower time controls - before and after adjournment - thereby potentially increasing the quality of moves at any moment of the game, also if the game isn't adjourned at all. Players can have two or three more deep thoughts before move 40 or - if they stick to their 'normal' time management - they will avoid time trouble but keep 30 minutes on the clock after move 30 or 35. It's only possible with possible adjournments, else there might be marathon games of 8, 10 or 12 hours in one session (very tiring even if there's never time trouble!).

  • 5 months ago

    Jhorwin

    @juliakoy

    Your comment is very valid in the 90s. At that time engines were so weak that they had very small significance concerning adjourned games.  Today, if Stockfish gives +3 with the accompanying PV then there's no way to stop it! That makes all your thoughts about adjournment resulting to high level mental competition, carefull patient analysis, old or young ages blah blah so meaningless at this era.

    Wake-up man and live at the moment!

  • 5 months ago

    juliakoy

    i think this is the first time after so many years that adjournments have been allowed again.  The purpose of this is plenty: let me show you a bit of what i understand:
    a.  Adjournment prevents both players from going into so much mental pressure in deciding whether to continue and risk mental fatigue or stress, or just draw the game .  This is advantageous especially for veteran players ages 30 and above.  Nowadays the younger players think faster, deeper and better. We all know there is young and old masters when they clash are not always equal. the youngers had better advantage. With adjournment, the veterans will have more time to rest and analyze positions
    b.  Adjournment helps both players to have quality rest while thinking of a better  quality move.  They dont need to think much of what will be their next move.  they just let the computer analyze or their assisting masters do the thinking. 
    c.  Adjournment gives greater opportunity  on both sides to have and prepare better quality moves or combinations especially if the game will lead to long endgames.  If you will notice  no adjournment games that reached 100 moves, both players  are prone to suffer too many blunders or unnecessary moves.  Its not good to see that right?. We all want our favored players to move precisely not to commit any mistakes or errors.We dont want to see a winning player lost a game by just one blunder.  Adjournment may help prevent that.
    c.  Adjournment promotes quality chess aiming to reach  a very high level of mental competition where strategies, attacking and defending is carefully and patiently analyzed  to produce the best quality moves as possible. 

    You may not agree with me.  You can share yours if you want.  its ok   

  • 5 months ago

    Jarb_Rafel

    So? where is Chucky's Number One Little Black Bitch Fan? I suppose he might post anything here for Cheering up to his Lucky Chucky? haha.. Tongue Out

  • 5 months ago

    Marius_Daniel_

    GM Wesley So plays very well!!

  • 5 months ago

    FilipinoChess

    @nochatnogame. they are just eager to have sucn an awesome talent on their (american) side except you bloke.

  • 5 months ago

    NoChatNoGame

    New American player? are we getting ahead of yourselves? Even when he transfers to USCF, unless he acquires US citizenship, he should never be addressed as an American. 

  • 5 months ago

    FilipinoChess

    Go Wesley! Filipinos have always produced world beaters in chess. It's time to rule the world!

  • 5 months ago

    _valentin_

    That Ivanchuk-Yussupov game is truly fascinating!!  Well worth watching and marveling at the mastery of, really, both players.  I was not aware of it, so thank you to the author for showing it to us!

    As for this tournament, I also recommend watching the 21-move Sutovsky-Jobava game (not featured in this article, unfortunately).  Sutovsky created a strong attack and completed it convincingly in a way that deserves a chess puzzle.

  • 5 months ago

    inselschaker

    Hmm, it smells like double standards to consider Wesley So's federation change accomplished, while - in another article - sort of questioning/criticizing Lagno's federation change. Politics (Russia-Ukraine conflict) aside, both cases are similar: the player wants to change federations, the former federation tries to prevent/delay a federation change. The difference seems that Russia paid a compensation fee to Ukraine, while the USA are unwilling to do the same. [Unwilling rather than unable - the money is available or would be if the Sinquefield Cup hadn't nearly doubled its prize fund?].

    BTW (I don't blame the author as it was only mentioned at a German chess site): "So's first tournament since he announced his intention to change federations" is actually slightly wrong. I asked him in Wijk aan Zee, he confirmed existing rumors saying "I want to change federations, but it's going to be a long process". In between, he played Capablanca Memorial - and his statement from January seems still true half a year later.

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