So powers Webster U woodpushers to win at Pan American tiff
By Joey Villar (philstar.com) | Updated December 31, 2013 – 3:02pm
MANILA, Philippines – Filipino Grandmaster Wesley So downed International Master Max Cornejo to carry Webster U’s Team A to a 3.5-.5 victory of University of Texas at Brownsville and a title sweep of the 2013 Pan American Inter-Collegiate Championship in Lubbock, Texas Tuesday.
For the second straight game, So, 20, wound up with a dangerous pair of bishops against his foe’s galloping knights and nursed a positional advantage before Cornejo ran out of time in a furious endgame scramble in 45 moves of their super-sharp Nimzo-Indian encounter.
So’s Board Three win, spiked by triumphs by fellow GMs Georg Meier and Ray Robson on Boards Two and Four and a draw by Vietnamese Le Quang Liem on top board, sent Webster U to solo first place with a perfect score of six points, a full point clear of University of Baltimore County A and Illinois A.
So’s awesome performance as he took not only the Board Three gold medal but the three-day tournament’s best individual performance with an impressive performance rating of 2894 that should catapult him from 30th in the world with a current rating of 2719 to No. 24 at the start of the year.
“Webster U sophomore GM Wesley So won the best individual performance of the entire PanAm with a 6.0 score. His ranking is now 24th in the world,” said Webster U’s Hungarian coach Susan Polgar, a former women’s world champion.
“Proud of Wesley and everyone at Webster U,” she added.
Another Filipino GM Julio Catalino Sadorra finished with 3.5 points for University of Texas at Dallas, which finished log-jammed at sixth spot.
It was truly a dominating performance for Webster U as four of its other players either finished on top or shared their respective board gold medals, Le and GM Fidel Corrales at Board One, GM Anatoly Bykhhovsky at Board Two and GM Ray Robson at Board Four.
So added his scintillating performance at PanAm as his most recent win after topping five tournaments this year, including a gold medal effort in the Universiade in Kazan, Russia early in the year.
So will now fly to The Netherlands to plunge into action in a bigger, stronger tournament – the Tata Steel Chess slated in January next year in Wijk aan Zee.