Wesley So Emerges as Grand Chess Tour’s Top Contender: A Closer Look at His Stellar Performances in Romania and Poland

Wesley So Grand Chess Tour's Top Contende
Discover how Wesley So’s consistent performances have positioned him as a top contender for a potentially unprecedented 3rd Grand Chess Tour title. GCT photos by Lennart Ootes.

Consistent and tactical, Filipino American Grandmaster Wesley So has risen to the top of the leaderboard in the 2023 Grand Chess Tour (GCT). This ascent comes on the heels of his solid performances in the first two stages of the tour – the Superbet Chess Classic Romania and the Superbet Rapid & Blitz Poland – even though he did not clinch the top spot in either event.

In the Superbet Chess Classic held in Romania earlier this May, Wesley So emerged in joint second place, standing strong against formidable competitors, one of whom was the eventual winner, Italian-American Fabiano Caruana. The three-time United States Chess Champion‘s strong performance in Romania demonstrated his tenacity and skill and set the tone for his continued success in the tournament.

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Hot on the heels of the Romanian classic was the Superbet Rapid & Blitz Poland, a high-stakes event where the pace and intensity were ramped up. Norway’s Magnus Carlsen, another global chess titan, claimed victory in this stage. Yet Wesley So, undeterred by the fierce competition, managed to secure a joint third-place finish, further establishing his presence on the tour.

At the conclusion of the Superbet Rapid & Blitz event in Warsaw on May 25 (May 26 PST), Wesley So stood in joint second place with French Grandmaster Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, each amassing 21½ event points and 7.5 GCT points. This consistent performance, combined with his strong showing in Romania, catapulted him to the overall lead in the Grand Chess Tour.

READ Wesley So delivers runner-up finish in GCT Romania.

Despite not winning either event, So’s accrued points have positioned him at the helm of the overall GCT point standings. His cumulative score of 15.3 points showcases his consistent strength and strategy, underlining why he’s a serious contender for the GCT title, a championship the Filipino American grandmaster has won two times.

Looking ahead, the next events in the GCT are as follows:

  • SuperUnited Rapid & Blitz Croatia: July 3 – 10, 2023, in Zagreb, Croatia
  • Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz: November 12 – 19, 2023, in Saint Louis, USA
  • Sinquefield Cup: November 19 – December 3, 2023, in Saint Louis, USA

As Wesley So prepares for these upcoming battles on the chessboard, the chess world watches with anticipation. Can this Filipino American Grandmaster continue his successful run and ultimately again win the coveted GCT title? Stay tuned for more updates on his journey to chess glory.

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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.