Wesley So Wins 4 In PRO Chess Week 4
What is the new world number-two Wesley So up to after winning Tata Steel? He's continuing his winning streak with a perfect 4/4 score playing for the Saint Louis Arch Bishops in the Professional Rapid Online (PRO) Chess League.
The Arch Bishops have a 3-1 score and with So in the lineup; they must be one of the favorites in the league.
For So's opponents, it was a real pleasure to play the champion on a world stage. After one game, So and his opponent, Matt Zavortink of the Portland Rain, had a delightful exchange.
The Flawless PRO Team
After this week, one team remains with a perfect score in the league. It's truly incredible that with 48 teams in the league, it took four weeks to winnow our way to this point.
It's not the Montreal ChessBrahs with Fabiano Caruana and Li Chao, nor the Miami Champions with Hikaru Nakamura, Leinier Dominguez, and Baadur Jobava. It's the San Diego Surfers.
They have an indisputably strong lineup with GM Melik Khachiyan scoring 3.5/4 on board one, but where many teams have been celebrated for their elite board ones, it's the lower boards that are often carrying the Surfers.
Earlier in the season, Craig Hilby was an MVP for the Surfers, but this week it was young IM Josh Sheng who upset GM Zviad Izoria in a game that must have given him great satisfaction.
Week 4 Chasers
Many teams are close behind the Surfers with 3.5 and three wins. One fan favorite is the Buenos Aires Krakens, who have both GMs Federico Perez Ponsa and Alan Pichot playing exciting chess. Pichot won both of these crowd-pleasers this week and was an instant favorite for the commentators.
Even in simpler games, he finished in style.
The Dallas Destiny had a closer than expected match against the Minnesota Blizzard. They were lead by world junior champion Jeffery Xiong.
@Dallas__Destiny) February 2, 2017
Xiong managed to win all four of his games this week. He was in considerable trouble in this one and was definitely lost as the h-pawn advanced, but somehow his opponent couldn't quite get to Jeffery's king.
The Norway Gnomes are still hoping to get Magnus Carlsen into their lineup, but they did win a tight match against the previously perfect Gorky Stormbringers this week. GM Aryan Tari found a beautiful move in a difficult position in this game.
Gorky did have the satisfaction of winning the final-round board-one duel as GM Evgeny Shaposhnikov defeated GM Jon Ludwig Hammer.
Nico Zwirs played excellently for the Apeldoorn Apes as Killian Delaney of the Dublin Desperados walked into a very sharp line.
The London Towers have been buoyed in a strong season by GM Jonathan Hawkins, who scored 4/4 on board two. He won a complicated game here.
The other London team, the Lions, have struggled so far, but this week they brought in free agent Sergei Movsesian, who scored 4/4 to give them a narrow win. They did lose this appealing attack to the Budapest Gambit.
The Amaravati Yodhas were soundly defeated by the Riga Magicians, but they did have the satisfaction of playing a move-of-the-week nominee.
It's been a rough season so far for the Abuja Rockstars, but IM Oladapo Adu found an opportunity for the sort of tactic one always likes to play for an audience.
@PROChessLeague) February 2, 2017
It's time to vote for move of the week! Review the nominees in our report at https://t.co/y80IhUSpmN!— PROChessLeague ( @PROChessLeague) February 2, 2017
Week 4 Blunders
Rapid chess speeds up the action, feeding the enthusiasm of the spectators, but it also leads to some rather spectacular blunders.
First GM Igor Miladinovic, playing for the Odisha Express lost to IM Miguoel Admiraal of the Amsterdam Mosquitos, who scored 4/4. In the final position, we found a player once again desperately trying to turn off auto-promotion, but Miladinovic couldn't quite manage it.
This conclusion between FM Levy Rozman and Joshua Ruiz left the hosts somewhat astounded.
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