Saturday, January 11, 2014
Taking on the World's Best Players
So takes on world’s best in Tata Steel Chess 2014
By Joey Villar (philstar.com) | Updated January 10, 2014 - 6:29pm
MANILA, Philippines – Wesley So plunges into action Saturday in the tough Tata Steel Chess 2014 in Wijk aan Zee where he will be pitted against some of the world's top Grandmasters, including some contemporaries who once dealt him a loss or two.
So, 20, will go against some of the world's best in the sport, including Anish Giri of the Netherlands, Sergey Karjakin of Russia and Arkadij Naiditsch of Germany, who all own a better record than the Filipino woodpusher.
Giri, the youngest player in the Top 30 in the world at 19 years old or just seven months younger than So, has beaten the latter twice in four matches with the other two ending up in draws.
So lost to Karjakin once and drew thrice while also losing a game to Naiditsch and drawing their only other match.
But So will be armed to the teeth and brimming with confidence having emerged the best individual performer in last December's Pan American Games in Lubbock, Texas where he swept all his six games.
So has also moved from No. 30 in the world to No. 28 with a rating of 2719 in the recent FIDE (International Chess Federation) rankings early this month and counting his effort in the PanAm and possibly another solid performance in Wijk aan Zee, he is expected to move forward even further.
"My target this year is to reach the 2750 rating but I will take it a game at a time," So told The STAR.
The annual event, known before as Corus and Hoogovens, will be So's toughest tournament to date since he will face woodpushers currently in the top 10 in the world, including world No. 2 Levon Aronian of Armenia and No. 4 Hikaru Nakamura of the United States.
Also participating in the 16-day event, which will employ a double-round robin format, are Italy's Fabiano Caruana, Israel's Boris Gelfand, Cuba's Leinier Dominguez, India's Pentala Harikrishna, Hungary's Richard Rapport and Dutch Loek Van Wely.