WORLD CHESS CUP UPDATE: WESLEY SO DOWNED IVANCHUK!
By Salvador Lopez
Thu, 26 Nov 2009
(SPECIAL TO PHILBOXING.COM) Philippine chess phenom Grandmaster Wesley So scored the biggest victory in his young career by winning his mini-match 1.5-0.5 against the mighty GM Vassily Ivanchuk of the Ukraine in the second round of the ongoing FIDE World Chess Cup currently being held at Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. Earlier today, the 16-year old So held Ivanchuk to a draw in their second game to secure the victory in their match after the former won their first game. With the win, So progresses to the next round of the competition which is an integral part of the World Chess Championship Cycle 2009-2011.
Out-rated by almost 100 points, So (with an ELO rating of 2640) defeated the venerable Ivanchuk (currently with an ELO rating of 2739) in their first game by stoutly defending with the Black pieces in a complicated French. Ivanchuk could have taken a draw by perpetual but pressed for more and was forced to capitulate when So was able to beat the storm and consolidated his position for a winning material advantage. Needing just a draw in the second game to ensure victory in the match (which would not be a simple task against such a formidable player as Ivanchuk), So, playing with the White pieces, chose the Exchange Variation of the Slav Defence and kept things under control by keeping the initiative with little risk. Ivanchuk could not find a way to complicate things and the game soon petered into a draw in the 46th move of a balanced Queen ending.
Incidentally, Ivanchuk was not the only big name eliminated in the second round. Joining him towards the exit door were super GMs Teimour Radjabov (ELO 2748) of Azerbaijan and Alexander Morozevich (ELO 2750) of Russia who were both upset by their lower-rated opponents. Some other top candidates as Alexei Shirov (ELO 2719) of Spain (formerly of Latvia) and Peter Svidler (ELO 2754) of Russia were forced to go into speed play-off today (at 6 p.m. Manila time) after they drew their respective matches. The exit of these players would obviously increase the dark-horses’ (such as Wesley So) chances of eventually winning the tournament although stiff competition might come from the Chinese contingent who are doing very well in this competition.
So qualified for the second round by defeating GM Gadir Guseinov (ELO 2625) of Azerbaijan in their first round match. The two split their two regular games and the match went into a rapid play-off where So eventually scored a brilliant 3-0 victory.
The two other Filipino participants of the tournament were not as lucky, losing their first round assignments to their higher-rated opponents. GM Rogelio Antonio (ELO 2574) ran into GM Gata Kamsy (ELO 2695) of the US and lost 0.5-1.5. Antonio put up a spirited fight in their second game where he was pressing much of the action but Kamsky managed to hold the game for a draw. GM Darwin Laylo (ELO 2552) lost to GM David Navara (ELO 2707) of Czechoslovakia but not after extending the match into the rapid play-off where Navara eventually won 3-1 after the two split their two regular games in the mini-match where Laylo won the second game with a fine effort of attacking play. Ironically, Laylo was on his way to winning the second game of the rapid play-off after the two players drew the first game but unfortunately let Navara off the hook and escaped with a draw. Affected with such result or not, Laylo proceeded to lose the next two games to hand his opponent the victory.
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