Wesley So has opened up a 1-point gap on the field with only three rounds of the 2017 Tata Steel Masters to go. He outprepared the brilliantly prepared Radek Wojtaszek and went on to make the rest look very easy. Levon Aronian scored a beautiful win over Richard Rapport to move into a tie for second with Carlsen, Eljanov, Wei Yi and Sergey Karjakin, with the latter winning the all-Russian derby against Dmitry Andreikin. In the Challengers the leaders drew to allow Jeffery Xiong to join them in the battle for a Masters place next year.
The Tata Steel Masters went on its final tour day on Wednesday, with the players visiting the Frans Hals Museum in nearby Haarlem before playing the games in the Philharmonia:
We got three decisive games, with at least two of them works of art:
So wins again
Wesley So would admit afterwards:
Before this game I had a series of four draws, so I was kind of worried if I was going to win again, so today is a relief.
Wesley had made it his trademark to claim 9-round events by winning 3 games and drawing the rest, so perhaps it was fitting that in Round 10 he picked up another win and greatly increased his chances of starting 2017 with a supertournament victory. It’s noteworthy that he’s already played all but Wei Yi in the 5-man chasing pack.
The victory over Radek Wojtaszek was yet more evidence that So has added superb opening preparation to his already formidable practical skills. Wesley was in his own private “theory” until he played 18.b4:
So recommended 18…Be6 as potentially equalising instead of Wojtaszek’s 18…Qe7, when 19.Qb2maintained the pressure on the black position. Desperation had clearly set in for the Polish no. 1 after 24.Nb3, yet again taking advantage of the pin along the a-file: