Wesley So wins Bilbao Chess Masters 2015
By Jose "joeyj" Jereos Jr.
03 Nov 2015
The Bilbao Chess 2015 also popularly called the 8th Grand Slam Masters Final took place in Bilbao on 25 October to 1 November 2015. Since its 1st edition (2008), it is considered one of the world’s strongest annual chess tournament. The previous winners have been Magnus Carlsen (2011 & 2012), Levon Aronian (2009 & 2013), Veselin Topalov (2008), Vladimir Kramnik (2010) and Viswanathan Anand (2014).
This year event, 8th edition, is a 4-player double round-robin tournament with the participation of the defending champion & 5-time world champion Viswanathan Anand (India’s#1 & World’s #4), Anish Giri (Netherlands’ #1 and World’s #5), Ding Liren(China’s #1 & World’s #8) and Wesley So (USA’s #3 & World’s #12).
This strong-tournament had an average rating of 2785.75, a category 22 (2776-2800).
L-R: Ding, Liren(4th place), So, Wesley(1st place), Anand, Viswanathan(3rd place) & Giri, Anish (2nd place)
Philippine-born GM Wesley So representing USCF, a first timer in Bilbao, defeated the 2nd seed Anish Giri in a two game tiebreaker blitz match 4-1 after both tied 8 points in the 6-round standard/classical chess with 1 win and 5 draws apiece. The tournament regulations used the Sofia Chess Rules and the football scoring system of 3-1-0.
V. Anand and Ding, Liren had drawn in the last round in their own battle for 3rd place with both scoring 5 points but Anand with a higher tiebreak points took 3rd place with Ding, Liren settling for 4th place overall.
Round 1 to Round 6 Results
Wesley So won Bilbao Chess 2015
Wesley So after his brilliant win in R1 against Ding, Liren’s pet King Indian Defense (KID), where a number of experts described the win as one of the most spectacular games of the year, protected that slim lead until Anish Giri catched up in R4 by scoring his 1st ever win against V. Anand in standard/classical chess. Where all other matches ended in fighting draws except these two wins in R1 by Wesley So and in R4 by Anish Giri, the two players tied at 8 points a piece after R6 and had no other recourse but to move on to 2-tiebreaker blitz matches as required by the tournament’s regulations. Wesley won the 1st tiebreaker game and settled for a draw in the 2nd game and the title, his first ever category 22 title in his young career at age 22. Wesley just turned 22 last October 9.
With the win Wesley So now joined the ranks of former Bilbao Chess Masters/Grand Slam Masters Final champions that includes the current World Champion(WC) Magnus Carlsen, former WC Vladimir Kramnik and Viswanathan Anand, former FIDE WC Veselin Topalov and former world nr2 rated player Levon Aronian.
Note: Starting R5 Live rating was adjusted with Wesley So November 2015 rating of 2767 as reference. see Wesley So Live Ratings.
Wesley had gained +7.8 rating points to bring his Live Rating @ 2774.8 or 2775 come December 2015 FIDE rating that currently ranks #10 in the Live Rating list. His Tournament Performance Rating (TPR) was 2851.
Next stop for GM Wesley So
2015 Qatar Masters Open
December 19 – December 29
2016 Tata Steel Chess
January 15, 2016 – January 31, 2016
Wijk aan Zee – Netherlands
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