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MANILA, Philippines – After a string of individual misfortunes, Wesley So struck gold in team play as WR Chess ruled the inaugural FIDE (International Chess Federation) Rapid Team Championship on Monday, August 28 (Tuesday, August 29, Philippine time) in Dusseldorf, Germany.
So, who could only reach the fourth round in the recent FIDE World Cup, manned board 1 for the star-studded squad formed by WR Group CEO Wadim Rosenstein, also the team’s recreational player, which posted 10 wins against two draws in the three-day event.
The Cavite-born So, now playing for Team USA, was joined by fellow Super GMs Ian Nepomniachtchi, 2023 World Cup runner-up R Praggnanandhaa, Jan-Krzysztof Duda, former world rapid champion Nodirbek Abdusattorov, rising star Vincent Keymer, and former women’s world champions Hou Yifan and Alexandra Kosteniuk.
Owing to its deep bench, WR Chess swept its first nine matches before being held to a 3-3 draw by Team Armenia in Round 10.
WR Chess, which underwent two training sessions in Bali, Indonesia, and Dubai, UAE, in preparation for the €250,000 event (about P15.3M), was too strong it had the €100,000 top purse in the bag after the penultimate Round 11, where it swamped ASV AlphaEchecs Linz, 5-1, and moved beyond reach of the top-seeded Team Freedom led by former world champion Viswanathan Anand and Daniil Dubov.
In the 12th round, WR Chess, with So settling for a draw with GM Niclas Huschenbeth, completed its romp with another draw with Team Berlin Chess Federation.
WR Chess, which also routed Team Freedom, 5-1, in Round 5 pooled 22 match points out of the perfect 24, while Freedom amassed 20 points and MGD1, 18 points, for third place.
Team Armenia placed fourth and Germany and Friends fifth.
So is still looking for a follow-up to his victory in the Armageddon Championship Series: Americas last March. – Rappler.com