So repels Canadian, clinches 2nd spot

By Joey Villar, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jul 01 2014 08:46 AM | Updated as of Jul 01 2014 04:46 PM

MANILA, Philippines - GM Wesley So smashed Canadian FIDE Master Dan Hassael's Gruenfeld Defense in 24 moves in the final round to finish second behind Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine in the Edmonton International in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada yesterday.

So, 20, gave up a central pawn to gain tempo then pounded Hassael’s kingside to finish with 7.5 points, one point behind Ivanchuk, the former World Challenger who downed American GM Samuel Shankland in 35 moves of a King’s Indian Attack.

So will thus gain 3.4 rating points from this tournament that should hike his FIDE rating from 2744 last month to 2747.4 in next month’s rating list.

The Webster U standout, who won the Capablanca Memorial in Cuba last month to move to No. 15 in the world, said he was happy to survive and finish runner-up in the long tournament.

“Finally finished an awfully long chess tournament in Canada. It’s hard to gain rating when players give +0.8 per game and lasts for five hours. Now I am going home,” said So.

So, however, remained non-committal on whether or not he would play for the Philippines in the World Chess Olympiad from Aug. 1 to 15 in Tromso, Norway after he announced he would be switching federations.

If he decides to play, So will join GMs Julio Catalino Sadorra, Oliver Barbosa, Eugene Torre and John Paul Gomez in the team.