Wesley bounces back, beats Russian

PNS — GM Wesley So of the Philippines came back with steely resolve with the white pieces in the second round and hammered out a decisive victory over GM Dmitry Bocharov (ELO 2594) of Russia in the 2010 Aeroflot Open chess championship at the Hotel Gamma-Delta of the Ismailovo Tourist Complex here late Wednesday (Manila time).

So, who settled for a draw with GM Ehsan Ghaem Maghami of Iran in the opening round Tuesday, emerged from a tense middle game battle and came away with an inspiring victory in 32 moves of the Sicilian Defense Taimanov variation.

The 16-year-old Filipino champion, who bagged the top junior awartd in the same tournament last year, pounced on a blunder by his older but lower-rated Russian rival on the 29th move and sealed the win three move slater.

Although falling behind on clock, So maneuvered his queen, bishops and kingside pawns towards Bocharov’s king in the endgame.

The opportunity came when Bocharov made the mistake of capturing So’s pawn on f4 on the 29nd move, enabling the 17 th-seeded Filipino champion (ELO 2656) to take control.

Bocharov was on the verge of losing his knight or bishop when he resigned after So’s 32 nd move.

The win enabled So to improve his score to 1.5 points, good for a tie for third to 32nd places in this prestigious 80-player tournament which offers a guranateed prize fund of 70,000 euro.

So is only half a point behind GM Bu Xiang zhi of China and GM Le Quang Liem of Vietnam, who remained the only players with perfect scores of two points.

Bu toppled Gm Boris Savchenko of Russia, while Le shocked defending champion GM Etienne Bacrot of France for their second win in a smany matches.

Top seed GM Macime Vachier-Lagrave of France whipped IM Mikhaiel Krylov of Russia to lead a big group of players with 1.5 points.

So’s third round opponent is no less than Southeast Asian rival GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son of Vietnam.

Nguyen, seeded 40 th, outclassed GM Stanislav Novikov of Russia.

So’s compatriot, reigning Asian Zone 3.3 champion GM Darwin Laylo, had another rough day.

Laylo suffered his second straight defeat, this time losing to former world junior campaigner GM Eltaj Safarli of Azerbiajan.