WESLEY So ousted defending World Cup champion Gata Kamsky of the United States with a 41-move draw of a Dutch Defense Saturday and advanced to the fourth round of the event at Khanty Mansiysk.
“I sacrificed a pawn and got some chances. But at one point, I went too far and the advantages for my opponent were clear enough. I offered a draw so as not to suffer,” said Kamsky in the World Cup tournament bulletin.
Kamsky said he did not underestimate So.
“No, it is not the case. So was playing better and he deserved the victory,” said Kamsky in the tournament bulletin.
The 16-year-old high school junior from Cavite earlier trounced Kamsky, a former world championship challenger, in a French Defense on Friday in the first of their two-game mini-match. Kamsky was So’s second super grandmaster victim after the Ukrainian superstar Vassily ivanchuk.
“He is on a roll now after beating Ivanchuk, whom I consider to be a stronger player than Kamsky,” said honorary World Chess Federation president Florencio Campomanes in a phone interview.
So’s next foe is the winner in the four-game tiebreakers between Pavel Eljanov of the Ukraine and Vladimir Malakhov of Russia. This match is set on Sunday.
Chess writers worldwide have been praising So, the youngest player in the World Cup, which selects the challengers for the world championship currently held by Viswananthan Anand of India.
Former women’s world champion Zsuzsa Polgar called So, who played in her tournament last September, the “real deal.” Russian grandmaster Sergei Shipov, the World Cup analyst, said the fact that So, who grew up in a non-chess country, plays this well “speaks of his talent.”
“To make the picture clear, we should also mention that he is practically self-educated and very enthusiastic. He has no coach and no financial support from the [Philippine] government,” the tournament bulletin said.
So, in an earlier interview in the tournament bulletin, said: “We don’t get any financial support from the government. They don’t give money for tournaments, coaches—nothing. Our National Federation pays our tickets. That’s it. You realize at one moment that to reach some professional level you need private sponsors. I would be happy with some US$20 to 30 thousand a year.”
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– GM Susan Polgar