Category Archives: sports

Emil Guillermo: Magnus Carlsen wins the Gashimov Chess tourney in Azerbaijan; Wesley So finishes 3rd.

soplayinggashAmerican Filipino Wesley So  was trying to convert a draw into a win in 9th round action vs. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France.

But it was  all for naught.

Magnus Carlsen of Norway the World No.1 has already prevailed with a win over Rauf Mamedov.

With 7 points in 9 games, Carlsen was the tourney’s runaway winner.

Meanwhile, So’s perfect scenario didn’t work out.  Viswanathan Anand had to lose his match to Fabiano Caruana. Anand had to be shut out, but a draw gave him a half-point. He finished with 6 points  for sole possession of  second place.

Caruana’s half-point seemingly left him next in third with 5 points.

But So is placed ahead of Caruana because So had more wins in the tournament.

It didn’t  really matter if So eeked out an endgame victory in  this last match because Anand would be a half point ahead.

Still, a good, strong tournament finish for So, playing in back-to-back tournaments after the U.S. Championships earlier this month.

 

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Emil Guillermo: Wesley So playing white can’t upset World No.1 Carlsen, as 8th round Gashimov matchup ends in draw

carlsen so

For Filipino chess watchers all over the world, this was the Paquiao/Mayweather matchup in this tournament of international grandmasters: The up and coming Wesley So  vs. World No. 1, Magnus Carlsen.

magnus carlsen

Earlier this week I asked So what it would take to win.

“Full focus,” he replied in an e-mail.

When I asked him if after the U.S. Championships he could beat the highest rated player in the world,  he offered another terse reply.

“If you don’t think you can beat your opponent,” he said,” you shouldn’t be playing against him.”

So went on a ponderous attack, taking more than an hour for his moves on the clock. But whatever So did, Carlsen, playing black, deftly defended with ease. Carlsen registered less than seven minutes on the clock to neutralize So. After the Queens were gone in move 36, the  game came down to each player with a rook and four pawns.

It seemed like a relatively stress-game for Carlsen, as the game ended in a draw between the two players who as teenagers once trained with each other.

Going into the final round, So at best could place second, overall.

But he’d need a full point win  against 8th seed Maxime Vachier-Lagrave;  And then Fabiano Caruana would have to beat and shutout Viswanathan Anand.

It would create a mirror of the chess world: Magnus alone at top, and a bunch of folks in a  logjam for second.

 

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Emil Guillermo: So slips in 7th round match to Caruana at Gashimov chess tourney; Carlsen next.

A disappointing loss for American Filipino Wesley So at the hands of Fabiano Caruana of Italy.

so caruana

So is seen here on the right.

Playing black, So could not find an answer in this relatively quick match that ended when Caruana’s bishop over knight advantage prevailed.

The round 7 loss of a full point put So further behind  World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen, who won his 7th round against Vladimir Kramnik.

The two are scheduled to meet in the 8th round.

But So enters the match with 4 points and in third place.   Carlsen is a top the leaderboard at 5.5 points. India’s Viswanathan Anand, who beat So in their head-to-head matchup, is in second with 4.5 points.

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Emil Guillermo: Excerpt from my Wesley So interview, now trailing Carlsen, World No.1, after 6th Round in Gashimov chess tourney in Azerbaijan

American Filipino chess grandmaster Wesley So has picked up the pieces after a disappointing U.S. Chess Championship showing in St. Louis earlier this month.

The tension still exists with family, but the drama and excitement  is all on the board, So told me in an e-mail interview.

At the Gashimov Memorial, one of the world’s major chess tourneys, So trails  tourney leader Magnus Carlsen, the World’s No. 1 by just half a point.

So kept pace when action started up. In Round 6, both men drew their matches.  The next big moment may be Round 8, when So is scheduled to face Carlsen.

In my  e-mail exchange with So during the break, he told me why he has been playing to form:

Q:You’re playing well in Azerbaijan. Why do you think?

I am trying my best and the atmosphere here is very motivational. The hosts are dedicated to our welfare and provide for all our needs, helping us to  focus on playing the best chess we can. I feel very happy to be here.
Q: Is the higher level of play against the likes of Carlsen more of a motivation?
A: All the players here are extremely talented and it is an honor to even be in this group. I grew up studying the games of some of these player and sometimes I can’t believe I am playing them now. It is very exciting.
I’ll have more of the interview in a subsequent column for Inquirer.net.