Wesley So beats Vishy Anand and wins Leon Masters 2017

by Sagar Shah
7/11/2017 – The youth versus experience battle between So and Anand in the finals of the 30th Leon Masters 2017 was looked forward to with great interest by chess fans all over the world. The rapid section of four games ended with a 2-2 tie. However, Wesley managed to win the match by defeating Anand in the blitz. In his first appearance at the Leon Masters, Wesley So goes back home with the winner's trophy!

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Magistral Ciudad de León 2017 decided in blitz final

Wesley So has great respect for Vishy Anand, and has said openly in the past that he has learnt a lot from the five-time World Champion and his games. But on July 9th, So could look back on dramatic days in Leon, Spain, having beaten Vishy Anand with a score of 3.5-2.5 to pick up the title of the 30th Leon Masters 2017.

So and Anand at the final press converence

A jubilant So and more subdued Anand after the final | Photo: Official Facebook page

Player  Elo P1 P2 P3 P4 Total D1 D2 Final
Wesley So 2810 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 2 1 1/2 1,5
Vishy Anand 2783 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 2 0 1/2 0,5

It was four rapid games of 20 minutes + 10 seconds increment and in case of a tie, two blitz games with 5 miuntes + 3 seconds increment, with a final "Armageddon" to follow, if necessary.

Four draws in rapid was followed by Wesley's win in the blitz. A final draw in the sixth game sealed Vishy's hope. So how did it all happen? Let's get down to the games:

Anand and So

Is Wesley So following Baadur Jobava's advice on protective eyewear? | Photo: Official Facebook page

Rapid Game 1

The first game was an Anti-Berlin, where Vishy with the black pieces played quite well. He was better at some point, but Wesley held fort and drew the game.


Rapid Game 2

In the second game Wesley played the French and very quickly got a positional advantage. He exchanged queens so that all Anand's hopes for an attack were lost. And one by one all the pawns started to fall like ripe mangoes. In order to continue the game Anand had to give up a piece. It seemed as if all was over, but Vishy magically managed to draw the game! It was quite unbelievable!


Anand hunker's down

Anand hunkers down | Photo: Official Facebook page

Rapid Game 3

Wesley played 1.d4 and Anand replied with the Nimzo Indian. Very soon the American GM built up a great position, only to be ruined by a few inaccuracies. Once again Anand managed to come out of it unscathed.


Rapid Game 4

Anand was on the back foot. He was a pawn down and Wesley was pushing. But yet again the Indian showed tremendous defensive skills to hold the game. The rapid portion of the event had ended with a 2-2 tie.


So in sunglasses

So took the white pieces in the first blitz game | Photo: Official Facebook page

Blitz tiebreak

Anand's error was punished brutally by Wesley as he chalked up a win in just 22 moves! The final move Nd8 was quite pretty.


Anand had one final chance to equalize the score in the match and take the game into the Armageddon phase. But Wesley's Petroff was just too solid. Seeing that there is absolutely no way to win the game, Anand offered a draw which was accepted by Wesley. And thus the youngster became the Leon Masters Champion.

Moments after the final handshake

Moments after the final handshake | Photo: Official Facebook page


A squeaker of a final match for So, who was able to shrug off a rare blunder in the semi-final match against Jan Krzysztof Duda, when he left his queen en prise.


Likely to be the most remarkable oversight at this level you will see all year!

My Career Vol. 1

The first DVD with videos from Anand's chess career reflects the very beginning of that career and goes as far as 1999. It starts with his memories of how he first learned chess and shows his first great games (including those from the 1984 WCh for juniors). The high point of his early developmental phase was the winning of the 1987 WCh for juniors. After that, things continue in quick succession: the first victories over Kasparov, WCh candidate in both the FIDE and PCA cycles and the high point of the WCh match against Kasparov in 1995.
Running time: 3:48 hours



Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He is also a chartered accountant. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He and is the co-founder and CEO of ChessBase India website, the biggest chess news outlet in the country.
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sivakumar R sivakumar R 7/18/2017 04:16
@ Mark S Thanks for responding. Religion defines the very purpose of life and it would certainly be insensitive to write a comment without proper choice of words (even in a chess portal).
Mark S Mark S 7/17/2017 02:16
@sivakumar R Don't be too sensitive. I think I have met you personally at Dubai. A tall chess coach and trainor, a vegetarian, and strong chess player who looks like a sumo wrestler. But I didn't know you're too sensitive on such topic as religion.
sivakumar R sivakumar R 7/14/2017 05:51
@ Mark S: You should be polite enough to glorify your religion without denigrating others.I am proud to be a Hindu and that my ancestors had invented chess.
PatrickP PatrickP 7/12/2017 03:50
I do not see the point of adding a photo "Moments after the final handshake"... :-)
benedictralph benedictralph 7/12/2017 10:53
Age is NOT just a number.
Mark S Mark S 7/12/2017 09:20
Congratulation to GM So for winning the 30th Leon at Spain. Congratulations to the organizers for a successful tourn too. Also, during the awarding ceremony at Leon, Wesley So looks like a priest with a silver cross pendant. I think Spain would love that. It was Spain which converted the whole of Philippines into a Roman Catholic nation after all. Without the colonization of Spain, Philippines couldve been a Hindu, Buddhist or Islamic country.
turok turok 7/12/2017 05:46
i created Armageddon" and used in my tournaments