Wes­ley: So far, so good

The Philippine Star - - SPORTS - By EDGAR DE CAS­TRO

The quar­ter­fi­nals of the World Chess Cup in Tbil­isi, will be in its fi­nal stages, as we go to press. Ar­me­nian star Levon Aro­nian, seeded fifth, reg­is­tered the only win of the day, trounc­ing 29th seed Vass­ily Ivanchuk of Ukraine in just 24 moves of a Cata­lan Open­ing, while other matches – No. 26 Vladimir Fe­doseev (Rus­sia) vs No. 2 Wes­ley So (USA), No. 16 Peter Svi­dler (Rus­sia) against No. 8 Maxime Vachier – La­grave (France) and No. 51 Richard Rap­port (Hun­gary) vs 11th seed Ding Liren (China), all ended in draws.

Mean­while, play­ers and fans have been di­vided on whether there’s an open­ing for new faces to chal­lenge the es­tab­lished elite. With seven of the top 10 seeds (No. 1 Carlsen, No. 3 Caru­ana, No. 4 Kram­nik, No. 6 Mam­e­d­yarov, No. 7 Naka­mura, No. 9 Grischuk and No. 10 Anand), gone, there’s hope. Led by 21-yearold Rap­port, Fe­doseev, 22, Liren 25 and a host of others, these young 20 some­thing gen­er­a­tion of chal­lengers has in­jected a dose of ex­cite­ment at the on­go­ing World Cup.

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So’s fourth win in Tbil­isi is a bril­liant refu­ta­tion of White’s faulty han­dling of the open­ing. He caps his per­for­mance with a beau­ti­ful ex­change sac­ri­fice on the 24th move.

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