Wesley biggest win

Chess Piece
Bobby Ang

Posted on November 01, 2013

Wesley in biggest win
17th Unive Crown Hoogeveen
Hoogeveen, Netherlands
October 20-26, 2013

Final Standings

1 GM Wesley So PHI 2706, 4.5/6

2-3 GM Michael Adams ENG 2753, GM Robin Van Kampen NED 2607, 3.0/6

4 GM Loek Van Wely NED 2693, 1.5/6

Ave Rating 2690 (Category 18

Time Control: 90 minutes for first 40 moves then 30 minutes play to finish with a 30 second increment added after every move starting move 1

Wesley So won 3 games and drew 3 to score the biggest win in his career at the Unive Crown category-18 tournament. He gained 13 ELO rating points from this victory, bringing his personal rating up to 2719.2, equivalent to no. 32 in the world (formerly he was no. 41).

I cannot help but draw a parallel with GM Eugene Torre’s great triumph. Shortly after the 1976 Manila Interzonal the organizers took advantage of the presence of the world’s top players in Manila to organize the Marlboro Kings’ Challenge tournament. Similar to the Unive tournament this was a 4-man double-round robin event and it had a powerful cast -- the world champion (Karpov), North American champion (Walter Shawn Browne), the European champion (Ljubomir Ljubojevic) and the Asian king (Eugene Torre).

Philamlife Auditorium, UN Avenue
July 13-22, 1976

1 GM Eugene Torre PHI 2505, 4.5/6

2 GM Anatoly Karpov URS 2695, 3.0/6

3 GM Ljubomir Ljubojevic YUG 2620, 2.5/6

4 GM Walter Shawn Browne USA 2585, 2.0/6

Eugene defeated all of his opponents once and drew the other. This event was the first category 15 tournament ever. It also marks the first time World Champion Anatoly Karpov did not win a chess event he was participating in from the time of his ascendancy to the world crown, also the first time he scored only 50% in a chess event in his entire career as chess master.

Back to the present. Wesley defeated Loek Van Wely twice and Dutch prodigy Robin Van Kempen once. I will show you his most exciting game.

* * *

Van Wely,Loek (2693) -- So, Wesley (2706) [D43]
17th Unive Crown Hoogeveen NED (4), 24.10.2013

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5

Wesley had beaten Loek in the first cycle of the tournament and of course the Dutchman wanted revenge and tries to steer the game into the Anti-Moscow Variation of which he is an acknowledged expert from both sides of the board. Van Wely had even made an instructional DVD with Chessbase on how to play it. Wesley meets the challenge head-on.


The sequence 5...dxc4 6.e4 b5 7.e5 h6 8.Bh4 g5 9.Nxg5 hxg5 10.Bxg5 Nbd7 is known as the Botvinnik Variation, another tricky line. You cannot be an expert in the Anti-Moscow without knowing the Botvinnik as many of the variations are similar.


If the game follows the Anti-Moscow, the attentive BW reader might be wondering what the Moscow Variation is. Well, if White decides to take the game into more positional lines then he enters the Moscow with 6.Bxf6.

6...dxc4 7.e4 g5

Using this move order Black prevents White from Nxg5, as in the Botvinnik.

8.Bg3 b5 9.Be2 Bb7

The position we have arrived at is an important crossroads. The main alternatives are 10.h4, 10.0-0, 10.Ne5, 10.e5, and 10.Qc2. Statistics-wise 10.e4 making room for Ne4 gives the best results although some players are reluctant to use it as they don’t want to “fix” the central pawn formation. See game in next note.


The famous game Kramnik vs Anand from Belgrade 1997 continued 10.e5 Nh5 (Nowadays most people play 10...Nd5!?) 11.a4! (to force ...a7-a6 to deprive Black of the maneuver ...Nb8-a6-c7) 11...a6 12.Nxg5! Nxg3 13.Nxf7 Kxf7 14.fxg3 Kg8! 15.0-0 Nd7 16.Bg4 (16.Bh5!? should also be considered) 16...Qe7 17.Ne4 Rh7 18.Nd6 Rb8 19.b4 h5 20.Bh3 (20.Bxh5 Qg5 followed by ...Bxd6) 20...Bh6! 21.Kh1 Bg5 Black is doing ok. The game concluded as follows: 22.Qc2 Rg7 23.Qe2 Ba8 24.Qxh5 Rf8 25.Ne4 c5 26.Nxg5 Bd5! 27.Nf3 cxb4 28.axb5 axb5 29.Nh4 Qg5 30.Rxf8+ Nxf8 31.Qe8 Rf7 32.Nf3 Qg6 33.Qxb5 b3 34.Rf1 Qd3 35.Kg1 Qe3+ 36.Kh1 c3 37.Bxe6 Bxe6 38.d5 Rxf3 39.gxf3 Bh3 40.Qc4 Bxf1 41.Qg4+ Kh7 42.e6 Ng6 0-1 (42) Kramnik,V (2770)-Anand,V (2765) Belgrade 1997.

10...Nbd7 11.Ne5

The idea is to push f2-f4.


Kramnik himself played 11...Bb4!? against Miton at the Olympiad, Dresden 2008, but the move has already been discredited. After 12.Nxd7 Nxd7 13.f4 (13.Qc2 is not forceful enough. Miton,K (2604)-Kramnik,V (2772) Dresden 2008 1/2 55) 13...Qe7 14.a3 Ba5 15.e5 Bxc3 16.bxc3 0-0-0 17.a4 a6 18.f5 White has a very strong initiative. Sargissian,G (2680)-Rodshtein,M (2622) Moscow RUS 2010 1-0 33.


Topalov unleashed the stunning novelty 12.Nxf7!? against Kramnik in the 2008 Wijk aan Zee tournament. 12...Kxf7 13.e5 Nd5 14.Ne4 Ke7 15.Nd6 Qb6 16.Bg4! Raf8 17.Qc2 Qxd4? (In the press conference after the game Topalov stated that 17...Rhg8 was the correct prophylactic move. Black protects his bishop so that after 18.Qg6 he has time to defend the pawn on e6 as well. 18...Nc7 19.Qe4 Ba8 20.f4 the position is still very complex but no one can say that he/she is winning) 18.Qg6 Qxg4 19.Qxg7+ Kd8 20.Nxb7+ Kc8 21.a4 b4 22.Rac1?! (22.Nd6+ Kc7 23.Rad1 was again very promising) 22...c3 23.bxc3 b3 24.c4 Rfg8 25.Nd6+ Kc7 26.Qf7 Rf8 27.cxd5?! Rxf7 28.Rxc6+ Kb8 29.Nxf7 Re8? 30.Nd6 Rh8 31.Rc4 Qe2 32.dxe6 Nb6 33.Rb4 Ka8 34.e7?! Nd5 35.Rxb3 Nxe7 36.Rfb1 Nd5 37.h3 h5 38.Nf7 Rc8 39.e6 a6 40.Nxg5 h4 41.Bd6 Rg8 42.R3b2 Qd3 43.e7 Nf6 44.Be5 Nd7 45.Ne6 1-0 Topalov,V (2780)-Kramnik,V (2799) Wijk aan Zee NED 2008.

12...Nxd7 13.Bd6! a6

In Van Wely’s DVD on the Moscow/Botvinnik he recommends 13...Bf8.

14.a4 b4

Wesley’s idea is that if 15.Bxb4 then 15...Qb6 wins back the pawn.

15.Nb1!? Nf6 16.e5 Ne4

[16...Nd5 17.Bxc4 keeps the advantage for White. The text move keeps up the threat of ...Nxd6]

17.Bxb4 c5 18.dxc5 Bxe5 19.Na3 Qc7 20.Nxc4 Bxh2+ 21.Kh1 Rd8 22.Qb3 <D>

Position after 22.Qb3

And now the final assault.

22...Qf4! 23.Qf3

[23.Qh3 Nxf2+ 24.Rxf2 Qxf2 25.Kxh2 Qxe2 26.Nd6+ Rxd6 27.cxd6 0-0 leaves Black ahead]

23...Qh4 24.Qg4!

[24.Qh3? Nxf2+ 25.Rxf2 Qxh3 the pin on the long diagonal wins it for Black]

24...Nxf2+ 25.Rxf2 Qxf2

Wesley is now threatening ...Rd8-d4-h4.


Opening up the a3-f8 diagonal for his bishop, but this is actually a mistake. He should have played right away 26.Rf1 Qg3 27.Nd6+ Rxd6 28.Qxg3 Bxg3 29.cxd6 Bf4 (preparing ....Kd7) 30.Bf3! Black remains a pawn up but the White is still alive.

26..Bxc6 27.Rf1 Qg3 28.Qxg3 Bxg3 29.Bh5

Setting a trap: If now 29...Bf4 then 30.Rxf4! gxf4 31.Ne5.

29...Rd4! 30.Bxf7+ Kd7 31.Bc3 Rh4+ 32.Kg1 Bh2+ 33.Kf2 Rf4+ 0-1

Is Wesley So the highest rated player ever from the Philippines? Yes, without a doubt. Can we therefore say that he is the greatest chessplayer ever to come from Philippine shores? I’d say not yet. Ratings is not per se a measure of your playing strength -- what is more important is the difference between your rating and that of the other players. Eugene Torre’s ELO 2580 was the highest he ever achieved (January 1983 list). His ELO was a lot lower than what Wesley So has now, but at that time 2580 was good enough for no. 20 in the world (no. 1 Anatoly Karpov 2710, no. 2 Garry Kasparov 2690, no. 3 Ljubomir Ljubojevic 2645), and that is the more important statistic rather than the numerical value.

Once GM So climbs up past no. 20 in the world, and there is no reason to believe that he will not, then and only then will I agree that he has become the greatest ever Filipino chessplayer.

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