Wesley So Gets His Revenge
Wesley So wins over an old rival.

Wesley So Gets His Revenge

GM Gserper
Apr 22, 2018, 12:00 AM |
39 | Tactics

One of the most shocking games in the history of the U.S. chess championship was played in 2015.

Can you imagine one of the world's strongest players losing his game in just six moves playing White? This is exactly what happened! I was really puzzled when the live transmission of the game brought this:

My first thought was that Wesley So forgot to turn off his cell phone and forfeited his game after an unexpected call from one of his well wishers. But of course, as you know, it wasn't the case. It is difficult for me to imagine that any Chess.com members haven't heard about this incident, but just in case, here is the live report of that round:

FM Mike Klein also wrote a comprehensive news report on the controversy for Chess.com. 

Now fast-forward a year and the same opponents face each other again. Wesley decided to follow Fischer's advice (remember his "best by test"?) and switched from 1.d4 to 1.e4. This time the game lasted longer than six moves and ended with a beautiful combination. Can you find it?

The game more proof that you don't want to break chess rules playing So. Indeed, when Akobian took the g2 pawn on move 17, he opened a file against his own king, which is a big no-no in chess. But unfortunately, he didn't really have a choice there.

Try to figure out what could have happened had he saved his Bd5 a different way.

Yes, it is another smothered checkmate, just like in our previous article. Therefore, Akobian didn't really have a choice there. What surprises me, though, is that some strong players make this exact suicidal move on their own while not being forced! 

Look at a game that I watched live since it was played next to me in one of my most memorable tournaments:

It was unreal! First a very strong player took a clearly poisoned pawn and then Boris Gelfand didn't punish him for that! What I didn't know is that when the players left the room for a post-mortem, a coach from Qatar showed a move that refutes Black's suicidal move. Surprisingly, just three months later, Gelfand had exactly the same position against another Bulgarian player.

As I explained in this article, I've always believed that giving up a pawn to open a file against an opponent's king is a no-brainer. Therefore I was waiting for somebody to grab such a poisoned pawn against me. Fortunately, I didn't have to wait for too long. By the way, the following game was played in the Soviet Army championship, so it is indirectly related to this article too.

As you can see, the game So-Akobian was indeed very remarkable. Wesley So got his revenge and you could learn how to attack a king in positions where players castle opposite sides. Thanks to this game I took a trip down memory lane to a long-gone time of my youth...a time when I was wearing a military uniform and Boris Gelfand was wearing a mustache.

Thank you, Wesley!

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