• Wesley braces for Gashimov tourney

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    Filipino Grandmaster (GM) Wesley So will be playing against the world’s best GMs in the star-studded 2nd Vugar Gashimov Memorial Chess Tournament slated on April 16 to 26 in Shamkir, Azerbaijan.

    Among the top contenders in the 11-day tournament are reigning world champion GM Magnus Carlsen of Norway and world No. 2 GM Fabiano Caruana of Italy.

    Also seeing action are former world champions Viswanathan Anand of India and GM Vladimir Kramnik of Russia, world No. 7 Anish Giri, world No. 11 GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France, and Azerbaijan bets world No. 13 GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, world No. 20 GM Teimour Radjabov and world No. 92 GM Rauf Mamedov.

    A total of 100,000 Euros is up for grabs in the event.

    So, who represents the United States Chess Federation, recently ruled the 2nd Bunratty Classic Chess Tournament 2015 held in Ireland. He finished fourth overall in the 2015 Tata Steel Chess Tournament held in Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands in January.

    Before the Azerbaijan event, the 21-year-old So is set to compete in the US National Chess Championships in Saint Louis, Missouri. He is also gearing up for the prestigious 2015 World Cup on September 10 to October 4 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

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    1. This is Wesley’s second test this year. And his first invite (courtesy of 2788 ELO and listed #8 in the world) to super-strong tournaments (Category 21 or higher) where only select Top 10 GMs are invited.

      This tournament is tougher than Tata Steel bcoz of the additional presence of Top 10 GMs Anand and Kramnik. Also, the timing is not good as Wesley will burn lots of energy for the tough 2-week US Championship that precedes Gashimov.

      How he performs in Gashimov will indicate his readiness to compete in tournaments leading to world championship. I reckon that he need not win but should stay close to the winner, and gain 2 or 4 ELO points.

      Later on, he has enough time to rest and prepare for his second super-strong tournament at Dortmund, Germany.

      IMHO his decision to switch chess federation has paid off.