ACP Golden Classic: Wesley So is the winner

by Albert Silver
7/20/2014 – Round seven was a crucial one for most players since although Wesley So had all but locked up first place, silver and bronze were up for grabs still. With his victory, Wesley So has now moved to 2755 on the Live Ratings list, and world no.12, a remarkable progression for the 20-year-old, while Jobava Baadur took silver and Emil Sutovsky was bronze. Still, the last round had some drama left.

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The ACP Golden Classic International Chess Tournament is being held in Bergamo, Italy, from 12 to 20 July 2014, as the main event for 2014 in the agenda of the Association of Chess Professionals (ACP). The tournament is a seven-player round robin. The rate of play is 150 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 60 minutes for the next 16 moves, followed by 15 minutes to finish the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move in the last period. The ACP Golden Classic brings back the long forgotten tradition of adjourned games. If a game is not finished at the end of the first playing session (five hours), the arbiter will ask the player whose turn it is to move to adjourn the game and ‘seal’ his move. This does not apply to the last round.

The adjournments

For three players, Saturday was a sunny rest day to look forward to, but for four of them it meant concluding the adjourned games of the fifth and sixth rounds, and for Brunello and Almasi specifically, it meant double-duty as they had two games to finish, not just one. The two first games that were played were Jobava-Almasi and Brunello-Vocaturo. Jobava already had a winning position from the first time control, so it was only a question of technique (or remembering lines) to secure the point. The game between the two young Italian grandmasters was more interesting, and developed as a fight that lasted nearly two hours, which brought the total playing time to almost seven hours. In the end, Vocaturo converted his endgame advantage and won.

Zoltan Almasi and Jobava Baadur at their adjourned game

The last game was between Brunello and Almasi, and thanks to a 30-minute break to rest, Brunello recharged his batteries and resumed his game against Almasi. When he sealed his move, the Italian had a modest but tangible advantage and shortly after resuming play Brunello sacrificed the exchange in order to maximize his winning chances. It was an excellent effort, but ultimately was insufficient and a draw was agreed. 

Round seven

Sunday, July 20, 2014
Sutovsky, Emil
Almasi, Zoltan
Brunello, Sabino
So, Wesley
Nepomniachtchi, Ian
Vocaturo, Daniele

The first order of business of the day was the tournament leader's game against Sabino Brunello, and it was more of a formality as they drew in 20 moves, securing the first place. With this victory, Wesley So has now moved to 2755 on the Live Ratings list, and world no.12, a remarkable progression for the 20-year-old.

Wesley So is now the proud winner of the ACP Golden Classic

What do you think he did after winning the tournament? He tweeted Fabiano Caruana to
congratulate him on his own victory at Dortmund.

After Jobava Baadur's loss to So in round six, Emil Sutovksy had temporarily gained sole second place on the leaderboard. This was short-lived as the adjourned games on Saturday locked up a point for the Georgian, sending him to a plus one score at 3.5/6. This left an opening for Sutovsky who had 3.0/5 and a game to go in the last round. On the downside, his opponent was Zoltan Almasi, who is anything but a lightweight.

Although he could almost taste the silver in his mouth, Emil Sutovsky ran into a Hungarian wall

The two players went down the theory-heavy Ruy Lopez Chigorin, following grandmaster play for nineteen moves, and while Almasi was the first to stray, Sutovsky was the first to go astray. A misjudged 23.Nxc4? was followed by several mistakes, and a few moves later White was lost. This relegated Sutovsky to 50% with 3.0/6 and third place, yielding the silver for Baadur.

Ian Nepomniachtchi had to have entered the final round feeling he would finally have a chance to redeem himself from a lackluster tournament and at least end on 50% (he was on 2.0/5). After all he was playing Daniele Vocaturo, who was not only rated 150 Elo below, but who had had an atrocious event thus far. It was indeed a round of final redemption, but not for the Russian! After his success in his adjourned game in the previous day, the Italian played a very solid game, never giving any ground to his higher-rated opponent. Then thunder struck:

Nepomniachtchi - Vocaturo

After 33.Re1? Black had the powerful blow with ...Ned5! which led to...

...this situation a few moves later. Black had a winning continuation
here that was far from obvious. Can you do better? Hint: the second
move is the masterstroke, not the first.

In a few short moves, the Italian was dead won, and that was all she wrote. Or was it? The Italian missed the killer blow, and Ian somehow managed to regain his balance to a degree, albeit still worse. Instead of lamenting his missed win earlier, Vocatura proceeded to outplay the Russian in the ensuing endgame and after nearly fifty moves, signed his second win of the event at move 83. With this win, he moved up to 2.5/6, joining his compatriot, while Nepomniachtchi was moved to a disappointing last place with 2.0/6.

Final standings

Solution to diagram:

[Event "ACP Golden Classic 2014"] [Site "Bergamo ITA"] [Date "2014.07.20"] [Round "7.3"] [White "Nepomniachtchi, Ian"] [Black "Vocaturo, Daniele"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C45"] [WhiteElo "2730"] [BlackElo "2584"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r5k1/1pp3p1/3p1n1p/1pr1q3/4P3/PPR3NP/1KPQR1P1/8 w - - 0 36"] [PlyCount "10"] [EventDate "2014.07.12"] 36. Ree3 b4 $1 37. axb4 Rca5 $3 {and White must give up the queen to prevent mate.} 38. Qe1 (38. bxa5 Qxa5 {and mate is inevitable.}) 38... Ra2+ 39. Kc1 Ra1+ 40. Kd2 Rxe1 0-1

Report by David Kaufmann and Albert Silver,
photos by Lennart Ootes and David Kaufman for the official tournament site

We are grateful to the organisers for providing a live feed and excellent material for media coverage, which resulted in informative and entertaining reports for our readers.


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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nonoyski nonoyski 7/22/2014 02:56
So's transfer of federation from Philippines to US has not yet been acted upon by PCF headed by former Congressman Pichay. Pichay who is accused of Plunder here in the Philippines is sitting on the request like he is the God in the Philippine Chess. This man should have been in jail long time ago for buying a bankrupt Savings Bank using government's money. What happened to the case ? Calling Ombudsman Carpio-Morales.
Thomas Richter Thomas Richter 7/21/2014 06:40
I had witnessed the postmortem between Caruana and So in Wijk aan Zee, ending with a handshake and So wishing "good luck in Zurich!". I guess it's just two young players who get along well with each other ... .
I wouldn't say 'total contempt', but media in general relatively ignored Caruana, compared to the more colorful Nakamura - who may have less potential to make further progress.
vdpandit vdpandit 7/21/2014 09:29
Has not the transfer of So to USA been cleared yet?
hpaul hpaul 7/20/2014 11:03
Total contempt? That's pretty strong. I don't remember anyone treating Caruana "with total contempt". Has the sound of a blog "fact".
Corinne Corinne 7/20/2014 10:16
The whole 'american team' is extremelly nice to Caruana now, I wonder why? Perhaps they are hoping on another transfer? They must be salivating at the idea of a Caruana-Nakamura-So-Kamsky team. Before they use to treat him with total contempt.

By the way is Coca Cola secretly sponsoring Caruana? When playing he is always next to the diabolical drink . . .