Thursday, October 24, 2013
Ed Andaya

Standings after three rounds:

2.5 points — W. So (Philippines).
1.5 — R. vam Kampen (Nethrlands)
1 — M. Adams (England), L. van wely (Netherlands)

HOOGOVEEN, Netherlands — So far, so good for GM Wesley So.

So brought down fellow chess prodigy GM Robin vanKampen of the Netherlands in another virtuoso performance to assume the sololead after three rounds in the 17th Unive chess tournament at the Hoogoveen Hall here Tuesday.

The 20-year-old Filipino champion, who is seeking a fitting follow-up to his historic gold medal in the 27th Summer Universiade in Kazan, Russia last July, emerged from a tight middle game struggle and turned what looked like a drawish ending into a decisive victory in 43 moves.

The turning point in the tricky rook and pawn endgame came when So managed to simplify the position and went into the endgame with an unstoppable a-pawn on the sixth rank.
Seeing the futility of his position in which he had to give up his rook to prevent So’s a- pawn from queening, Van Kampen resigned.

“The g3 proves very important in the main variation of this endgame. Black can snatch the h-pawn and prevent the promotion of the a-pawn by giving up the rook, but he simply has no time to take off that g3 pawn off the board,” said one local chess analyst, Pulo y Gata.

Overall, So now has two wins and one draw for 2.5 points, one full point ahead in the four-player, double-round tournament which ends Friday.

So, now a sophomore business and finance student at the Webster University, defeated GM Loek van Wely of the Netherlands in the first round and drew with top seed GM Michael Adams of England the following round.

The second-seeded Filipino campaigner will meet the three players again in the second round starting Wednesday.

SPICE founder and Webster University coach Susan Polgar lauded So’s impressive showing after three games in Unive.

“So far, so good. But we are only at the halfway point. Wesley will have two games with black in the second half,’ said Polgar, who is personally responsible for the vast improvement in So’s overall game.

“We’ll take it one game at a time, and one goal at a time,” she added.

Polgar, who brought So to Webster as one of her top chess scholars, said So is working very hard to improve his game.

“Wesley always had the (chess) talent. But he needed to fine tune his game, eliminate some weaknesses and enhance his strengths. He also needed a strong support system and set the right goals,” explained Polgar, one of the strongest female players in history.

“But improving chess is just one aspect of the training. I want to make sure that Wesley and all my students are physically, mentally and emotionally fit,”she added.

“But most important of all, I want them to be good human beings and productive citizens of the world. SPICE is just not a chess program. It is their family with a lifetime support system.”

In the other third round match, Adams and Van wely battled to a draw.

GM Hikaru Nakamura of the United States bagged the title in Unive last year.


Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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