Corus B: GM So wins 10th rd match

Corus B: So nips Finn
By Jaime Pilapil

Grandmaster Wesley So now trails by a half a point pacesetting Dutch GM Anish Giri going into the 11th round of the Corus B edition in The Netherlands after notching a crucial win against a Finn grandmaster Wednesday.

Playing the black pieces, So employed Slav Defense in answer to GM Tomi Nyback’s d4 opening. The Finn top player started aggressively, launching an attack in his 33rd move via a pawn sacrifice.

But the Filipino defended well, putting two rooks and a bishop, aside from a queen, to secure his king and the f7 pawn. The game ended in 46 moves.

Thursday is a rest day, giving So enough time to prepare against Giri, his assignment in the 11th round on Friday night before facing David Howell of France and Anna Muzychuk of Slovenia on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

Giri now has 7 pts., after halving a point in the 10th rd. against Arkadij Naiditsch of Germany.

So has 6.5 points, sharing second place with Ni Hua of China and Erwin L’Ami of The Netherlands.

The January 16-31 games in Wijk aan Zee has three grandmaster groups (A, B and C) with 14 players each playing a closed round-robin. The rate of play is 100 minutes for 40 moves, then 50 minutes for 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game, and 30 seconds increment starting from move 1.

So topped the last edition of Corus C, promoting him to play in group B. Group A is a very strong tournament with no less than world champion Viswanathan Anand of India and world’s top player Magnus Carlsen of the Netherlands playing.

If So wins Corus B, he will be promoted to play in Corus A next year, a rare feat for a Filipino to play in a closed round robin against the chess world’s top notch players.

Standings after 10 rounds:

1. A. Giri 7
2. Ni 6.5, E. l’Ami 6.5, So 6.5
5. A. Naiditsch 6
6. P. Negi 5.5
7. P. Harikrishna 5, D. Howell 5
9. E. Sutovsky 4.5, A. Muzychuk 4.5
11. L. Nisipeanu 4
12. D. Reinderman 3.5
13. T. Nyback 3
14. V. Akobian 2.5

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