Wesley: So far, so good
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.
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.