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.
Entries in AGON (72)
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 (just-completed) Women's World Championship brought Georgian great Nona Gaprindashvili (women's champ from 1962-1978) to mind, so my World Chess column this week takes a look at a brilliant tactical slugfest she won on her way to the top.
This was a lot of work, but I think or at least hope you'll all agree that it was worth it. Did I mention that it was a lot of work? Have a look: all the chess from last Sunday's episode of "The Simpsons", with Magnus Carlsen.
In addition to the ongoing Women's World Championship and Grand Prix tournament in Sharjah, there's a high-level league competition that's nearing its end. The PRO Chess League sponsored by Chess.com is winding down (it finishes on March 11), and while it's only rapid play (15'/game, plus 2" increments per move) some of the world's absolute elite is participating, including Magnus Carlsen, Wesley So, and Fabiano Caruana - the world's three highest-rated players.
In last week's World Chess column, I cover one game from that event, Wesley So's win over Cristian Chirila. So grinds out a win in a long same-colored bishop ending, and while Chirila could have drawn with best play it was still a very impressive performance by So - good technique both objectively and from the practical perspective as well. It, and the league's games in general, are very much worth a look.
A couple of weeks ago I noted the passing of Dutch billionaire and two-time world correspondence chess champion Joop van Oosterom, and mentioned his sponsorship of the Amber Rapid & Blindfold events and other chess tournaments as well. So rather than present any of his correspondence games, I decided instead to show a couple of beautiful games played in the events he sponsored - have a look.
Hou Yifan's five-move loss in the last round of Gibraltar was a protest, not a real game, but it got me curious about very short games lost by elite GMs (I'm arbitrarily defining that as GMs rated at or over 2600) at a classical time control. Some of my surprising (and entertaining and instructive) findings can be found here.
The previous two World Chess columns covered the then-ongoing Challengers Group at the Tata Steel Chess Tournament (mostly in Wijk aan Zee), and last Friday's column - the current column - covered the finish. He won on tiebreaks over Markus Ragger, thanks to his win over him in their individual game, which is covered therein. Jones also won a clutch game in the penultimate round over Vladimir Dobrov; that game is also presented in the column.
It's not every day that a 2600-level GM loses with White in just 20 moves, especially without making an outright blunder, but that's just what happened in the round 10 game between Lu Shanglei and Eric Hansen in the Challengers Group in the Tata Steel Chess Tournament. For all the gory details, have a look here.