Saturday, November 28, 2009
RETRACING GM WESLEY SO'S PATH TOWARDS CHESS GREATNESS
( GM Wesley So vs. GM Kata Kamsky in 3rd round action of the World Cup )
The venue was the Subic International Convention Center. The place was jampacked with pinoy chess fans and kibitzers alike with a sprinkling of a few foreign spectators and members of the foreign media. The event was the last round of the Intercontinental Asian Championships. Playing White is RP's top rated player and youngest grandmaster, 15 years old Wesley So. Playing Black on the other hand, is another child prodigy and Vietnam's top rated player GM Le Quang Liem. The game is live in the internet and at stake is a slot in the World Cup. GM So played 1.e4 and GM Le countered with 1..c5. GM So diverted from the main line and used the Rossolimo variation sidestepping GM Le's pet Sicilian Dragon. He sacked a pawn and pressed his attack from the opening. GM Le defended tenaciously and GM So eventually lost the game. The loss was so heartbreaking that Wesley allegedly cried after the game according to a chess friend who witnessed the action.
The road does not end there. The ASEAN Zonal is still to come offering two slots to the winners. GM So was disconsulate and informed his fans that he will be taking a rest from chess and will not play in the Zonals. I was one of the many fans who was quite disturb with the pronouncement. He was almost there. Surely he had a big chance to grab one of the slots as many top guns in Asia will not be playing. At the last hour, GM So decided to join the tournament. Maybe it was due to the clamor and request of numerous chessfans including NCFP boss Prospero Pichay and also to redeem himself.
Prior to the Asian Intercontinental and immediately after the Aeroflot tournament, GM So informed his BW fans at Chessgames.com that he bought some books concerning the d4 opening so as to expand his repertoire but it would take time before he can used it in a tournament. Now is the time to unleashed it.
GM So played solid chess and used 1.d4 exclusively in the Asean Zonals. He was undefeated and claimed one of the slots for the World Cup by virtue of a second place finish next to GM Darwin Laylo who played the tournament of his life by demolishing his opponnets one after the other.
Next was the SPICE CUP in Texas, USA whereby GM So was ranged against 2600+ GM opponents. The result was not spectacular, to say the least and GM So even suffered a single loss in the hands of another prodigy GM Hammer of Norway. GM So achieved winning positions in some of his games but failed to convert it into a win. The result convinced his fans that Wesley should be given a coach/trainer to further develop his immence chess talent.
Nex was the World Juniors in Argentina. I was one of those chess fans who believed that Wesley was ripe for the World Juniors. Now is his time to be the World Junior Champion as he was one of the top favorites. Now came his mother Maam Leny kibitzing at Chessgames.com informing his fans that Wesley will not play at the World Junior as he need to concentrate on his study to finished high school. I was somewhat devastated by this pronouncement but I fully understand that it was for GM So's own good.. This incident revived the raging debate in the chess forums whether Wesley should go to college or just dropped out and become a chess professional. In hindsight, his non participation was a blessing in disguise as it enable him to recharge his batteries and deprived his opponents of a glimpse of his chess arsenal. It also enable him to avoid the chess radar thus he arrived at the World Cup in Russia as a relatively " unknown player " to quote the foreign media.
Now focus shifted in the forthcoming World Cup. GM So's tournament preparation as well as that of GM's Antonio and Laylo were not coming smoothly if media report is to be believed. The promised training match that will include GM's Torre, Paragua, and Gomez did not push through. There were also reports about lack of governemnt financial support in going to Russia which was the venue of the World Cup.
Prior to the World Cup, GM So was given a tag heuer watch as a gift by his ever loyal fans of the BW ( Barangay Wesley ) fame. Some members of the group also contributed to augment his financial needs for the World Cup. NCFP boss Propero Pichay and some well meaning people also made their contributions so that the problem for the trip was finally solved . Now the stage is set for Wesley's historic rise at the World Cup.
To be continued.........