By Jaime Pilapil
Teenage Filipino Grandmaster Wesley So (2644) missed to capitalize on the mistake of Ukrainian GM Yuriy Kuzubov (2631) and settled for a draw in the first round of SPICE Cup 2009 being held at Texas Tech University.
So has been invited to play in the double round robin Grandmaster Invitation category composed of six topnotch young players, including GM Dmitry Andreikin (2659), 19, Russia; GM Varuzhan Akobian (2636), USA, 26; GM Rauf Mamedov (2626), Azerbaijan, 21; GM Jon Ludvig Hammer (2585), Norway, 19; and Kuzubov, 19.
So, 16, offered a draw after 34 moves of Bogo-Indian Defense named after 1930’s Grandmaster Efim Bogoljubov.
The young Filipino chess wizard opted to join the Sept. 19-29 Texas instead of campaigning in the 4th President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (PGMA) Cup International Chess Championship which will run from Sept. 24 to 30 at Duty Free Fiestamall in Paranque City, the Asian Indoor Games in Vietnam from Sept. 30 to Oct. 8, and the 5th Prospero A. Pichay Jr. Cup from Oct. 1 to 8 at the Local Water Utilities Administration Bldg. in Quezon City.
The two other pairs in round one all ended in draws, namely Akobian vs. Mamedov, Andreikin vs. Hammer.
In the second round late in the afternoon Sunday So will be facing Hammer. Mamedov is facing Kuzubov while Akobian will square it with Andrekin.
So, playing with white, avoided the popular Nimzo-Indian and went for Catalan Opening by opting to push g3 in the third move after the book opening d4 Nf6 and c4 e6.
He still salvaged a draw in spite of 43 seconds left after 22 moves as against Kozubov’s 1.05 minutes. -30-