MANILA, Philippines - One year after he quit school and left the Philippines to play for the United States, Wesley So won the strongest tournament of his career by disposing of his nemesis in Bilbao, Spain.
So defeated Anish Giri of the Netherlands in a two-game blitz playoff to capture the Bilbao Masters early Monday, November 2 (Manila time). It was a tough playoff, according to the press statement.
In the first playoff game, it said "even with a noticeable mistake made in the beginning, So has been able to overcome his mistake and win the first mini-match."
In the second playoff game, "when all the clues seemed to lead to Giri´s win with the white pieces, a completely unexpected move on So´s part, gave him the opportunity to end in a tie, resulting this into his victory of the tournament."
The statement referred to a crucial position in the 39th move where So stood to lose his queen but could obtain some play as he would obtain rook and bishop for a queen. White still had the advantage but would have to work to expand his superiority.
The tournament, billed as a youth versus experience event gathered So (22 years old), Giri (21) and Ding Liren of China (23) against Viswanathan Anand, 45, a former world chess champion.