Wesley So wins Chessable Masters 2021

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
8/9/2021 – A draw in the second set of the finals was enough for Wesley So to secure first place at the second edition of the Chessable Masters. The Filipino-born grandmaster thus obtained his third title in this year’s Champions Chess Tour. Le Quang Liem finished in a remarkable second place, while Vladislav Artemiev got the bronze after beating Levon Aronian in the match for third place.

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A third title for So

Wesley So entered the second edition of the Chessable Masters as the third seed, but given his track record in similar tournaments, he should always be considered either the favourite or the second favourite (if Magnus Carlsen is included in the lineup) in these events.

The Filipino-born grandmaster did not disappoint, as he won the preliminary stage and went on to convincingly win the tournament, knocking out Jorden van Foreest, Vladislav Artemiev and Le Quang Liem without ever needing to take his matches to blitz tiebreakers. Having won 3 out of 8 events in this year’s tour, he stands in clear second place in the overall tour standings. His earnings in the series amount to $179,590!

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The second set started badly for So, as he lost with black after failing to find a move that would have, out of the blue, saved him a half point.

 

Le had not played the most precise moves to convert what had been a clear advantage with his major pieces so deep into the opposite camp. Thus, So here could have saved a draw with 30...Qf1, and White cannot prevent Black from giving a perpetual check — the light-squared bishop plays a major role from c2, defending h7.

The American did not find this recourse, though, and went for 30...Rxd8. There followed 31.Qxd8 Kg8 32.Re8 and Black resigned, with mate in 6 on the board.

So missed some clear winning chances in game 2, but then managed to level the score with a victory in game 3. Le got to make waves in the fourth game of the day, which he needed to win to take the match to tiebreaks, but So kept things under control and got the half point that gave him overall victory in the online event.

 

Select an entry from the list to switch between games

Artemiev outplays Aronian

In the match for third place, Levon Aronian misplayed two endgame positions in a row. The Armenian could have got the advantage going into game 3, but instead was on the back foot after two encounters.

 

Here, playing Black, Aronian would have won the game with his connected passers by going for, among other moves, 56...Nc3. His 56...Ke7, on the other hand, allows the white king to blockade the pawns after 57.Ke5. GM Karsten Müller showed all the relevant lines and explanations in his analysis below.

GM Müller also looked at game 2, in which Aronian could have saved a draw in a materially balanced rook endgame.

 

Both 46.Re1 and 46.Rh3 draw for White, while 46.Re2 runs into 46...Kg4 47.c5 Kf3, when Black gains an important tempo by attacking the rook. Artemiev went on to convert his advantage into a 61-move win. 

The Russian grandmaster also won game 3 to secure third place. As shown in the overall standings table at the start of the article, Artemiev has reached 9th place after playing only two events, having accumulated 58 tour points and $23,500 in prize money.

GM Müller analysed games 1 and 2 in the replayer below.

 

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Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.
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