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The 79th edition of Tata Steel Chess Tournament also known as Wijk aan Zee and/or famously known as the “Wimbledon of Chess”  that took place in 3-locations for the Master’s Group (A-Group): Wijk aan Zee (R1-R4,R6-R9,R11-R13), Rotterdam (R5 ) and Haarlem (R10 ) from 14-29 January 2017 was won by Wesley So, a Philippine born Grandmaster and who now represents the U.S. Chess Federation (USCF) since 29 October 2014. This was GM So very first victory in the Masters group (his 4th try since 2014) of the Tata Steel Chess Tournament.

The 14-Participants @ Tata Steel Master Chess 2017 ‘Masters Group’ 

The average rating of the 14 participants @ Tata Steel ‘Masters’2017  based on FIDE-ratings of January 2017 was 2751 (Category 21). A strong Category 21 event is considered a super-tournament.

GM Wesley So Tata Steel Masters 2017 Results:

The 2nd seeded Wesley So (2808) ascension in the tourney’s leadership was not that easy as he has to face the World Champion & 1st seed Magnus Carlsen(2840) in R1 and the 5th seed, the World’s #10 & World’s draw champ Anish Giri(2773) in R2, when both two rounds matches ended in draws. It was only in R5 when he defeated Harikrisna (2766) to score three successive round wins (R3,R4 & R5) and also the previous R4 leader Pavel Eljanov loss to Levon Aronian when he suddenly grabs the lead scoring 4.0/5 while Carlsen & Eljanov scored 3.5/5.

World Champion Magnus Carlsen vs Wesley So was the top game in round one: ½-½:

Starting R6 he never had relinquished that lead but after R12 that lead was only 0.5point after scoring 8.0/12 with three others (Carlsen, Aronian & Wei Yi) crowding at 2nd place with 7.5/12.
Going into the last round(R13), many doubters were speculating that the winner will be determined by tiebreak games (rapid and/or blitz depending on the number of players tied at first place) i.e. Wesley So will draw and the others will catch up by winning their respective matches.

But Wesley So proved them wrong, avoiding the playoff by demolishing Ian Nepomniachtchi (2767) with the black pieces in 28 moves of the Trompowsky Attack game at exactly 10:00pm(PHI time) when Nepo resigned that is only about 3hrs after the game had started @ 7:00pm(PHI time) thus becoming the sole winner of the 79th Tata Steel Chess Tournament in Wijk aan Zee while the other six board games still in progress, So was already being congratulated by the organizers, officials and guests, including his fans. His overall score after R13 of 9.0/13 (+5=8-0) was already beyond reach by the nearest three pursuers.

Carlsen ended with a draw Vs Karjakin and scored 8.0/13 for 2nd place finish. A win by Adhiban in R13 and sorry losses by Aronian & Wei Yi brought their respective total tied @ 7.5/13, good for 3rd to 5th places.

GM Wesley So’s Tournament Performance Rating (TPR) was 2888, and had gained him a +14.1 in rating points. This superb result bring his Live Rating @ 2822.1 that propelled him to #2 in the World Chess rating list after a loss by Fabiano Caruana to Nigel Short on the same day @ R6 of the Gibraltar Masters Open.

So’s 2822.1 is also his highest ever rating that stands as the #6 Highest Ever Rating in Chess history.

Best of 2016 and Tata Masters 2017 winner (The hottest man in chess)

After winning Tata Masters 2017, So now has a “No Loss” streak of 56 games in a row dating back his last loss to Carlsen in R4 @ Bilbao on 16 July 2016. He won the Sinquefield Cup in August 2016, then Olympic Team Gold for USA and Individual Board-3 Gold in Baku, then the London Chess Classic (LCC) + 1st Place overall in the Grand Chess Tour 2016 to make him the best player of the year 2016 and now Wijk aan Zee. What a way to end 2016 winning the LCC and start 2017 with a big bang @ Wijk aan Zee ! He is now considered by many as the hottest man in chess.

ref: Wesley So Live Ratings

“Winning this tournament is huge, with the world champion in it. It’s a wonderful start of the year.” Wesley So

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Jose "joeyj" Jereos Jr..

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