Wesley So drops Round 1 of Candidates vs Fabiano Caruana
MANILA, Philippines – Wesley So got off to a bad start in the Candidates Tournament Saturday night, March 10, in Berlin as fellow American Fabiano Caruana did not allow him to escape as he did in a tournament last January.
Caruana, playing white, defeated So in 33 moves of a Queen's Pawn opening. After So missed a defensive resource on the 28th move, which pinned Caruana's knight against his rook, Caruana did not miss nailing down victory unlike their game at the Tata Steel tournament where he was winning but erred and allowed So to draw.
Round 2 on Sunday night sees So pitted against Russian Alexander Grischuk, who lost in a well-played game by former world champion Vladimir Kramnik.
Filipino chess fans following the Candidates Tournament in various sites went back to their beds before 3 am, some with snide remarks. At chessbomb.com, balakao said: "so hiding preps for the next cand?" and kingcarl said: "Wes is highly overrated. He should go down 15-20 levels in rankings." They found little solace in Haridas Pascua, the 2017 national champ, drawing with second seed Wang Hao of China in the second round of also ongoing HD Bank Cup in Hanoi Saturday.
On the day round one began, So's former coach, Vladimir Tukmakov told chess24.com in an interview "that if he’s working alone as before, then I don’t think he has any chance. If he has a serious helper, who he trusts and who can give him something, then it’s a different matter."
Tukmakov, who led Ukraine to two Chess Olympiad titles, and honed So's old nemesis Anish Giri of the Netherlands to one of the top 3 players in the world, said he worked with So in 2016 until 2017.
He said So became world number 10 working on his own but through frequent communication on the internet, he got So playing at a higher level. So rose to world number two, and had a 71-game unbeaten streak.
However, working personally was another matter, said Tukmakov. There was no chemistry unlike their internet communication. Tukmakov alleges after So, who slumped badly in the 2017 Sinquefield Cup: "We didn’t have a special meeting devoted to clarifying matters and deciding what we should now do in the future. Our contract came to an end, and that brought an end to our cooperation as well."
There will be 13 more rounds to play for So, the youngest in the Candidates, and he has a chance to redeem himself against Caruana in Round 8.
Here are the complete results of Round 1:
The round 2 pairings are Ding Liren - Caruana, Mamedyarov - Aronian, Kramnik - Karjakin.