HomeGood SportBREAKING NEWS: Wesley So wins historic 2nd Grand Chess Tour championship

BREAKING NEWS: Wesley So wins historic 2nd Grand Chess Tour championship

Wesley So with GCT Founder and legendary grandmaster Garry Kasparov at the 2021 Grand Chess Tour. Photo courtesy of GCT.

BREAKING NEWS: Wesley So has won a historic second championship title at the Grand Chess Tour (GCT) over-the-board tournament after an undefeated run in five events.

The United States Grandmaster who started his chess career in the Philippines was declared the winner of the Grand Chess Tour which started in June 2021 in Romania and ended today in the USA.

The 27-year-old So defeated the world’s top grandmasters in the 2021 edition of the GCT, his second championship in the tournament after winning in 2016.

Currently World No. 9-ranked among FIDE players, Wesley So now holds the distinction of being a two-time winner in the Grand Chess Tour history, joining World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen of Norway who won it in 2015 and 2017.

2021 GCT Final Standings

The reigning and two-time United States Chess Champion (2017, 2020) won the GCT as the top-ranked player in the 10-men board after the Sinquefield Cup finished Round 9 of the fifth and final event in the GCT on August 26 (August 27 Philippine Standard Time) with Wesley So drawing his last game and eventually placing in joint 2nd place at the event.

Even before all the matches were played in Missouri, Wesley So was expected to win the GCT by points with his top 1 position in the overall rankings.

So had consistently stayed within the leadership of the tour to accumulate points and secure his overall championship title and the $100,000 top prize.

GCT photo

“Wesley won because he is the most stable and most reliable player,” GCT founder and legendary Grandmaster Garry Kasparov said in today’s live streaming of the games. “Wesley in this calm environment – he proved to be the most resilient among the challengers.”

In his post-game interview, Wesley So in his characteristic humble attitude shared that he will learn a lot from the GCT to improve his game. “I don’t really feel like a winner… I could have played better,” said So who hails from Cavite province in the Philippines.

The Filipino-Chinese-born star first won the Grand Chess Tour in 2016 after winning both the Sinquefield Cup and the London Chess Classic events. In the 2021 edition of the GCT, Wesley So gained his victory with his win at the Paris Rapid & Blitz, top 2 finish at the Superbet Classic, top 4 at the Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz.

Here’s the timeline of Wesley So’s performance at the Grand Chess Tour 2021:

  • Wesley So started strong in the return of over-the-board games at the Grand Chess Tour, tying for 2nd place at the Superbet Chess Classic from June 3-15 in Bucharest, Romania.
  • Wesley So won the GCT Paris Rapid & Blitz played in France from June 16-23 to take leadership of the tournament.
  • So did not play in the GCT 3rd leg of the Croatia Rapid & Blitz on July 5-12 in Zagreb.
  • The Filipino American Grandmaster finished in 4th place at the 4th leg, the St Louis Rapid & Blitz from August 9-16 in St. Louis, Missouri.
  • So finished in joint 2nd place at the Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis, Missouri which ran from August 16-28.
  • Wesley So is declared overall winner of the Grand Chess Tour and will be awarded on August 28.
Wesley So Grand Chess Tour
Wesley So went undefeated at the GCT. Photo: Lennart Ootes via GCT.

Wesley So is also competing in the ongoing online Meltwater Champions Chess Tour (CCT) of Super Grandmasters and will play in the Aimchess US Rapid, the 9th and final leg of the tournament which begins August 28.

Wesley So has so far won 3 events in the CCT, including beating World No. 1 player Magnus Carlsen of Norway for the Skilling Open and Opera Euro Rapid Championships, and more recently won the 8th leg, the Chessable Masters.

Wesley So, the reigning World Fischer Random Chess Champion who shocked Carlsen with a checkmate in front of the Norwegian crowd, will compete at the Champions Showdown: Chess 9LX played in the Chess 960 style, also known as Fischer Random scheduled on September 8-10.

SEND CONGRATULATIONS in the comments below to Wesley So for a historic win in the 2021 Grand Chess Tour!

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Angie Quadra-Balibay
Angie Quadra-Balibay
Angie is a self-confessed reformed news critic who vows she has finally found infinite value in delivering the good news. She teaches students of all ages how to make the important interesting for audiences across media platforms.

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