Is Wesley So Ready For The Sinquefield Cup?

Is Wesley So Ready For The Sinquefield Cup?

| 23 | Chess Event Coverage

GM Wesley So, the wildcard in the Sinquefield Cup that starts next weekend, participated in the Turkish League where he scored three wins, six draws and one loss.

All photos courtesy of the Turkish Chess Federation.

A preview of the Sinquefield Cup, the second of three tournaments in the new Grand Chess Tour, will be posted soon here on Out of the 10 participants, only one player was active this month: GM Wesley So.

The American grandmaster had traveled to Kocaeli, Turkey where he participated in the Turkish Super League. So played for the “Sea Water Aquamatch Youth And Sports Chess Club.” 

Other strong players contracted by the Turkish clubs included GMs Pentala Harikrishna (playing for Istanbul Technical University), Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Besiktas Gymnastics), Alexander Moiseenko (Kayseri Sugar) and Ivan Cheparinov (Turkish Airlines). 

So played in 10 of the 13 rounds. He started well: a draw as Black against GM Ferenc Berkes (2659) from Hungary, and then a crushing win over Russian grandmaster Sergey Volkov (2589):


The start of the match Sea Water Aquamatch vs the locals, Kocaeli Metropolitan Municipality.

There followed four draws, all played with the black pieces. Perhaps So had requested this, to prepare some extra black games for the Sinquefield Cup?

In any case, those four draws were fine result-wise, against GM Mustafa Yilmaz (2582), Alexander Moiseenko (2710), Yuriy Kuzubov (2638) and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2734).

Back again playing as White, So defeated GM Nidjat Mamedov of Azerbaijan in an endgame that was quite close to a draw:


So-Mamedov is about to start.

After drawing Harikrishna in a Berlin Endgame, So suffered his first and only loss. It's the kind of loss that's not hard to get over with: Ivan Cheparinov simply played very well, from start to finish.

The Bulgarian was well prepared in this Closed Catalan, won a pawn, and converted it in a bishop-vs-knight ending. 


So in his game with Cheparinov.

So repaired the damage with a last-round win over Sergei Zhigalko, one of the Zhigalko brothers of Belarus. It was an exception to the rule that knights are better than bishops in closed positions, especially the way Zhigalko played it. 

Rated 2779 and scoring a 2730 performance, So's Elo change was -5.9. He dropped just below Kramnik in the live ratings, b
ut that doesn't say much.

So experimented with differented openings in Turkey, and played reasonably solid. The question above the story can be answered with a cautious "yes."

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov's Besiktas won the league convincingly, with 25 points out of a possible 26. The format of the league was a round robin of 14 teams consisting of eight players. You can find all teams and their line-ups here.

You'll notice that relatively few titled players played; in Turkey the teams include boards specifically for juniors under 16 and 20 (both girls and boys sections) and female players.

2015 Turkish Super League | Final Standings

# Team + = - MP BP SB
1 Besiktas Gymnastics Club 12 1   25 73 623.50
2 Sea Water Aquamatch Youth And Sports Chess Club 10 2 1 22 68 528.50
3 Turkish Airlines Sports Club 9 3 1 21 62 500.00
4 T.S. Wedding Rings Sports Club 9 2 2 20 63 474.50
5 Kayseri Sugar Sports Club 8 1 4 17 63 370.00
6 Kahramanmarab Municipality Sports Club 6 4 3 16 55 362.00
7 Istanbul Technical University Sports Club 6 2 5 14 58 301.25
8 Mediterranean Municipal Sports Club 5 1 7 11 52 213.00
9 Hata Municipality Youth Sports Club 5 1 7 11 48½ 214.50
10 Tarsus Intelligence Chess Club 4 2 7 10 52 186.00
11 Kocaeli Metropolitan Municipality Sports Club 3 2 8 8 47 150.50
12 Calli Sport Club 2 1 10 5 40 70.00
13 Pamukkale Intelligence Management Information Systems 1 0 12 2 20 26.50
14 Ankara Demirspor Club 0 0 13 0 26½ 0.00
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