Wesley cops Universiade chess gold
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - July 17, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Grandmaster Wesley So outwitted former world junior champion GM Zaven Andriasian of Armenia in a battle of nerves, winning their tensely fought Armageddon-style playoff match to capture the gold medal in the 27th Summer Universiade at the Kazan Equestrian Complex in Kazan, Russia Monday.

So, priming up for this year’s World Cup, and Andriasian actually drew their final round match to end up tied for first with seven others with 6.5 points after the nine-round tournament.

The two players again finished in a tie after three tiebreaks, forcing the Armageddon game that lasted late into the night.

Andriasian, who dominated the 2006 World Junior Championship, won the toss coin and chose to play white against the Filipino champion.

But So held his ground and translated a slight positional edge in the middlegame into a resounding victory in their King’s Indian Defense game.

“I really did my best, especially in the Armageddon game, to win the Universiade gold medal for our country,” said the 19-year-old So. “It was not easy because there were many good players here.”

Overall, So scored four victories and had five draws to share top honors with Andriasian and fellow GMs Li Chao, Zhou Jianchao and Ma Qun of China, Maxim Matlakov, Sanan Sugirov and Evgeny Alekseev of Russia and GM Jacek Tomczak of Poland.

So, Adriasian and Li finished tied in the first tiebreak (Buchholz) with 47.5 before So and Andriasian again wound up tied after second BH tiebreak, 43.0, dropping Li out of contention with only 42.5.

In the third tiebreak, the two again wound up with the 35.50 score, forcing the Armageddon playoff.

Initially, tournament officials had wanted to award two gold but decided to hold an Armageddon since under FISU rules, only one gold will be awarded.

Andriasian, 24, who finished fourth in the Shezhen Univesiade in China two years ago, opened with Nf3 with So replying with c5, the same opening moves of their ninth-round encounter. But this time, Andriasian chose to attack on the queenside while So opted to press his counter on the kingside.

When the end came, So was threatening Andriasian with a mate in one after 51...Rb1+.

“The Armageddon game was not easy. It all came down to nerves,” said five-time women’s world champion and SPICE founder Susan Polgar.

Davao pride Mary Palero agreed to a draw with No. 35 seed WFM Monica Motycakva of Slovakia to finish with 3.5 points for joint 52nd in women’s play.

GM Zhao Xue of China took the gold with 7.5 points and led a 1-2-3 finish for China with WGM Ju Wenjun and WGM Tan Zhingyi bagging the silver and bronze medals with seven points each.

ADRIASIAN AND LI ANDRIASIAN BUT SO GRANDMASTER WESLEY SO INDIAN DEFENSE JACEK TOMCZAK OF POLAND JU WENJUN KAZAN EQUESTRIAN COMPLEX LI CHAO MARY PALERO
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