Wesley So is 2017 U.S. Chess Champion
By Jose "joeyj" Jereos Jr.
Sun, 16 Apr 2017
The US Chess Championship that took place in Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, Missouri, U.S.A. from 29th March to 10th April 2017 was won by GM Wesley So, a three time Philippines National Champion (2009, 2010 &2011) and who now represents the U.S. Chess Federation (USCF) since 29 October 2014. This was Wesley So's first victory at the US National Championship and seized the coveted title of 2017 U.S. Champion (his 3rd attempt since 2015).
The 12 of the strongest chess players in USA who competed in the men’s section with an average rating of 2684.83 (Category 18: 2676-2700) are So, Caruana, Nakamura, Xiong, Robson, Onischuk, Shankland, Kamsky, Naroditsky, Akobian, Zherebukh and Shabalov. The top 3 seeded players (So, Caruana & Nakamura) belong to the elite World’s Top 10 rated players.
Standings after 11 rounds
At the end of the 11th round (single round robin), Wesley So (3-wins, 8-draws & no loss) and the 2006 US champion Alexander Onischuk (4-wins, 6-draws & 1-loss) were tied at 1st place with identical score of 7.0/11. Per regulations the tie at 1st place shall be decided by playoffs: A combination of rapid, blitz and armageddon games.
Wesley So wins playoff: So 1.5 – 0.5 Onischuk
After 2 very exciting playoff rapid matches between Wesley So and Alexander Onischuk, So won game 1 with white and had drawn game 2 with black to score 1.5/2 and the champion trophy for the winner + 50,000 USD.
“I really wanted to win this one this year … because it’s the strongest national competition in the world,” So said. “All the great [U.S.] players have won this one.”
GM Wesley So: 11 Rounds Results
GM Wesley So’s Tournament Performance Rating (TPR) was 2774, and this resulted to a loss of -6.6 in rating points and a Live Rating @ 2815.4 but still enough to stay #2 in the World Chess rating list. The other top rated players Caruana (2817: World’s #3) with 2737 TPR and Nakamura ( 2793: World’s #6) 2740 TPR were not as lucky as well in the ratings game, with the defending 2016 US champion Caruana and 4-time US champion (2005, 2009, 2012 & 2015) Nakamura tied for 3rd to 5th places with Varuzhan Akobian scoring 6.5/11 each thereby losing -10.7 and -7.2 rating points respectively that affected their own ranking in the Top 10 World Live Chess Ratings.
Final Standings after the Playoff
So’s 2824.5 that he scored in R4 when he won against GM Onischuk was his highest ever rating that stands as the #6 Highest Ever Rating in Chess history.
“No Loss” streak
ref: Wesley So Live Ratings
After winning the US Championship 2017, So extended his “No Loss” streak to 67 games in a row for Standard/Classical Chess. Dating back his last loss to Carlsen in R4 @ Bilbao on 16 July 2016, he completed the remaining 6 games at Bilbao 2016 with a +1=5 to finished 3rd place. He won the Sinquefield Cup in 14 August 2016 with a 5.5/9 (+2=7-0), then the Olympic Team Gold for USA and Individual Board-3 Gold in Baku with a 8.5/10 (+7=3-0), then the London Chess Classic (LCC) with a 6.0/9 (3=6-0) + 1st Place overall in the Grand Chess Tour 2016 to make him the best player of the year 2016.
Starting 2017 GM So won Tata Master 2017 @ Wijk aan Zee (above World Champion Magnus Carlsen who placed 2nd) scoring 9.0/13 (+5=8-0) and now the 2017 US Championhip.
It is also now three 1st place finish in a row for GM Wesley So. And these 3 consecutive tourneys are considered very strong. Isn’t it fantastic and amazing …
Champion: US Championship 2017, Tata Masters 2017 & London Chess Classic 2016 + Grand Chess Tour
Next stop for GM Wesley So
Gashimov Memorial 2017, Web (9)
20 – 30 Apr 2017, Shamkir (Azerbaijan)
So, Kramnik, Karjakin, Mamedyarov, Adams, Harikrishna, Eljanov, Wojtaszek, Topalov, Radjabov
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