MANILA, Philippines – Wesley So overpowered reigning women’s world champion Hou Yifan of China in 30 moves of an English Opening to finish tied for fifth place at the conclusion of the Tata Chess Steel Masters 2018 in Wijk aan Zee, the Netherlands Sunday.
So bit on a Hou pawn sacrifice in the opening by returning a pawn that turned out to beneficial for the former as it opened a file that led to vicious kingside attack and eventually the early resignation of the highest ranked woman chesser in the world.
So thus finished at joint No. 5 with former world champion Vishwanathan Anand of India with eight points after 13 rounds, 2.5 points off current world titlist Magnus Carlsen and Dutch Anish Giri with 10.5 points apiece.
Carlsen eventually beat Giri in the two-game tiebreaker, 1.5-.5, to claim the crown.
So also hiked his live rating to 2799.3, which was good for fourth in the world chess rankings.
It was also So’s highest rating since zooming to 2824.5 and No. 2 in the world behind Carlsen in April last year.
This was also So’s last event as he prepares for the Candidates Tournament set from March 10-28 in Berlin, Germany where the champion will get a crack to face off with Carlsen for the world title late this year.
There, So will battle United States teammate Fabiano Caruano, Azerbaijan’s Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Armenia’s Levon Aronian, China’s Ding Liren and Russia’s Vladimir Kramnik, Alexander Grischuk and Sergey Karjakin.
The Philippine Star
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