October 14, 2014
Written by Ed Andaya
Published in Other Sports

A WHOPPING take home pay of US$100, 000 (roughly P4.4 million) in five day’s work.

Not bad really for a chess prodigy, who just turned 21 last Oct. 9.

Add to that, a mouth-watering Top 10 rating in the whole wide world of chess.

GM Wesley So, the country’s most talented young player who could be headed elsewhere before the end of the year, couldn’t ask for more.

So brought down close friend and teammate GM Ray Robson of the United States, 1.5-.5, in the final match to clinch the championship of the Millionaire Open Chess Championship 2014 at the Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada early Tuesday (Manila time).

With the title in the richest, five-day chess tournament in the world’gambling capital comes the biggest paycheck of US$100,000 champion’s purse out of the guaranteed US$1-million cash prizes.

Robson, a roommate of So at Webster University in St. Louis, pocketed the runner-up prize of $50,000.

Before that, the 21-year-old So also underscored his billing as the biggest threat to world champion GM Magnus Carlsen of Norway by barging into the world’s Top 10 in the live rating list with an ELO of 2762.

“Congratulations to @WesleySo93, winner of the #Millionaire Chess tournament,” twitted New York-based Maurice Ashley, organizer of the highest-stakes open chess tournamen t in history.

Ashley personally awarded the check of @100,000 to So during the colorful awarding ceremony.

In Las Vegas, So finished with five wins and two draws during the seven-round qualifying stage to advance to the four-man playoffs against Robson and GMs Yu Yangyi and Zhou Jianchao, both of China.

Robson reached the finals first by eliminating Yu, 1.5-.5, in their rapid semifinal match.

So, the top seed in the tournament, drew against Zhou in their two rapid games at 25 minutes per player and then crushed the Chinese challenger, 2-0, in the first tiebreak consisting of two games at 15 minutes per player.

So needed only 19 moves to finish off Zhou in their first tiebreak game, capitalizing on the Chinese’s serious time trouble.

Zhou went for broke in the second game, sacrificing a piece to get counter play, but So defended well and clinched the second final slot without any further trouble.

In the final, So drew with Robson with the black pieces in the first game, and then played aggressively with the white pieces in the second game to clinch the win — and the title — after only 28 moves.

The 1-2 finish of So and Robson in the 129-player competition was also a major victory for the SPICE under coaches Susan Polgar and Paul Truong and Webster University.

Both So and Robson have played a big part in two national inter-collegiate championships for Webster University.

Polgar was widely credited for raising So’s meteoric rise as one of the world’s leading players.

For So, the title was the third for So in his last four tournaments under standard time controls.

The Filipino champion made history with a spectacular victory in the prestigious Capablanca Memorial Tournament in Havana, Cuba last May.

He also topped the ACP Golden Classic in Bergamo, Italy, last July and finished second behind GM Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine in the Edmonton International tournament in Alberta, Canada, last June.

Overall, So has not lost a single game in all these tournaments, with a total winning percentage of 24.5 points out of 32 games or 76.56 percent

This unbeaten run has catapulted him to No. 10 in the world with a live rating of 2762.

Full article here.
Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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