Friday, January 9, 2015

Pestaño: Wesley So quits school, turns professional

Thursday, January 8, 2015

WESLEY So has quit school to devote full time to chess.
His mother, Leny, when asked about the decision of Wesley was clearly upset and has this to say “Yes, but only after he graduates from Webster University. We had hoped it did not mean that he would give up his education. No matter how good he is as a chess professional, it cannot replace education and a university degree. All of us encouraged him to stay in school. He still has so much to learn. Unfortunately, there were poor advice given to Wesley, which is not to our liking.”
Susan Polgar, his coach at Webster University where he is now on his third year as a scholar studying business, also said “While I cannot speak about the specifics of his abrupt departure, all his teammates and I wish him the best,”
Polgar said she has done everything to improve So’s potential.
“We did everything we could to help Wesley reach the top 10 in the world, break the 2760 mark along with many big tournaments in the past two years. After nearly two and a half years of training at Spice, now is the time for him to show what he is made of,” she said.
In his last tournament, Wesley captured the North American Open Chess Championship and won $10,000. He was never threatened with seven wins and two draws for a remarkable eight points in nine rounds.
Wesley was so dominating that his closest pursuers only had 6.5 points. He now has a
rating of 2770, and is no.10 in the world.
This was his fourth win for the year after winning the Capablanca Memorial in Cuba last May, the ACP Golden Classic in Bergamo, Italy in July and last October’s Millionaire Chess Cup also in Las Vegas, where he pocketed $100,000, his biggest purse to date.
However he lost to Hikaru Nakamura in their blitz Death Match at 11.5-21.5 with time control of one ,three and five minutes. Nakamura is considered to be the best blitz player in the world. In a match between the United States’ top two players, Nakamura was clearly the dominant player over So, whose blitz rating is 2721 compared to Nakamura’s blitz rating of 2883, Wesley’s acid test will be the 77th edition of Tata Steel (formerly Corus ) to take place from Jan. 9-25.
The venue is once more the traditional city of Wijk aan Zee, the Netherlands. However two rounds will be played in satellite venues. On Jan. 15, the fifth round will take place in De Rotterdam, the recently opened building at the waterfront of the River Meuse in Rotterdam. And on Jan. 21, the 10th round will take place in the recently renovated press centre Nieuwspoort in The Hague.
Reigning Champion and World Number 1 Magnus Carlsen faces a big challenge. Number two Fabiano Caruana, the hottest player now, and 2014 champion Levon Aronian are also competing. Wesley is up there among the favorites. The Masters group also is back to 14 players and 13 rounds.
Here are the Group A players and their World Ranking --Magnus Carlsen (1), Fabiano Caruana (2), Levon Aronian (6), Anish Giri (7), Wesley So (10) , Maxime Vachier-Lagrave(13), Radoslaw Wojtazek (15), Temour Radjadov (20) Ding Liren (22), Jovaba Baadur (26) Vasilly Ivanchuk (33), Hou Yifan (70) and Loek van Wely (81), Saric Ivan (82).
Wesley’s main goal is to break the 2800 barrier, which are occupied currently by Carlsen (Norway ) 2862, Caruana (Italy) 2829, Alexander Grischuk (Russia) 2810 and Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria) 2800.
When asked if he is ready for the top 5, Wesley said“Absolutely! To always improve is my main goal. I hope it happens soon.”
He does not underestimate though the difficulty of being an elite player.

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