As he has been for some time now, Wesley So has been playing extraordinarily good, successful chess in one event after another. One event that may have slipped below your radar is the PRO League, a slow-moving team tournament which culminates this weekend. I say a bit more about the event here, and present two of So's more recent games from the tournament. There were many to choose from, as his score there is an insane 26-2, including a 12-2 score against grandmasters.
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After a relative dearth of top chess events, there will be three tournaments featuring elite players starting within a week.
The first is a round-robin event in Shen Zhen, China, the Longgang Chess Grandmaster tournament. It is a double round-robin with six players all rated well over 2700: Anish Giri (2771.3), Michael Adams (2762.6), Ding Liren (2759), Pentala Harikrishna (2755.1), Yu Yangyi (2749.6), and Peter Svidler (2746.8). The tournament "starts" on Wednesday, but it's possible that the opening ceremony will take place then and play will open the following day.
Next is an open event, the Sharjah Open in the United Arab Emirates. It may not be as prestigious as the other two events mentioned here, but will five 2700+ players it will be worth at least the occasional sidelong glance. The big guns here are Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2772), Radoslaw Wojtaszek (2738), Yuriy Kryvoruchko (2707.9), Maxim Matlakov (2707.4), and Arkadij Naiditsch, who is officially 2702 but 2697.2 on the live rating list. According to the website, the event begins tomorrow - but again, this may only refer to an opening ceremony rather than the start of play.
Last but not least, an event with only three players over 2700, but two of them are over 2800 and the other is close to 2800 and has surpassed that spectacular figure for much of the past two and a half years. I'm referring to the U.S. Championship, where world #2 Wesley So (2822) will try to take the title from defending champ Fabiano Caruana (world #3 at 2817), Hikaru Nakamura (#6 in the world, 2793), and nine other strong and hungry contenders.
Predictions on the latter event? Until So stops winning event after event, I see no reason to abandon him as the favorite.
[Note: The post has been changed to correct my erroneous statement that So rather than Caruana is the defending U.S. champion.]
A nice interview with Arshak Petrosian, a grandmaster, and the trainer and father-in-law of Peter Leko, here.
17-year-old Chinese super-GM Wei Yi is not only one of the world's strongest and most promising chess players, he's also one of the most exciting. He finished tied for second in the just-completed 7th HD Bank Cup in Vietnam, but when it came to aggressive, attacking chess he was number one. I look at five of his games from the tournament, including his one loss, in this week's World Chess column, hot off the press. Enjoy!
The film came out last year, and many of you may have seen it already. I just noticed it on Netflix and watched it there, so those of you who have it and haven't yet seen the movie now have your chance.
The final match of the 2017 Women's World Championship, between Zhongyi Tan and Anna Muzychuk, was decided in a rapid playoff today after four classical games left them in a 2-2 tie. Tan held a draw in the first rapid game, with Black, and then won the last game with White, which you can replay here with my light comments.
Congratulations to the new champ, who will defend her title next year against fellow Chinese star Ju Wenjun. The latter qualified by winning the 2015-2016 Women's Grand Prix, and the forthcoming match will be held in Khanty-Mansiysk.