Wesley So has now climbed to 2820.1 on the live rating list after his efforts in the Haarlem Philharmonia. He has opened up a 1-point gap on the field with only three rounds of the 2017 Tata Steel Masters to go. He outprepared the brilliantly prepared Radek Wojtaszek and went on to make the rest look very easy.
Wesley had made it his trademark to claim 9-round events by winning 3 games and drawing the rest, so perhaps it was fitting that in Round 10 he picked up another win and greatly increased his chances of starting 2017 with a supertournament victory. It’s noteworthy that he’s already played all but Wei Yi in the 5-man chasing pack.
The victory over Radek Wojtaszek was yet more evidence that So has added superb opening preparation to his already formidable practical skills. Wesley was in his own private “theory” until he played 18.b4:
Levon Aronian scored a beautiful win over Richard Rapport to move into a tie for second with Carlsen, Eljanov, Wei Yi and Sergey Karjakin, with the latter winning the all-Russian derby against Dmitry Andreikin. In the Challengers the leaders drew to allow Jeffery Xiong to join them in the battle for a Masters place next year.
After the rest day the final three rounds take place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. In Round 11, So has Black against Andreikin, who’s on a run of two losses in three games, while Carlsen had probably pencilled in White against Adhiban as a must-win game, at least before the tournament began. Wei Yi – Karjakin will be another important clash in the race for first place.