Wesley So is the star turn of today’s column too, as Malcolm presents a very powerful display with the black pieces in a recent tournament.
You are invited to find So’s checkmating finale after the final diagram.
Malcolm Pein on…So’s Three-Minute Warning
Wesley So defeated Jan-Krzysztof Duda in the Chess.com Speed Chess Championship. All the matches are split into three parts, each with a different time limit. In two of them, the players were evenly matched. The Blitz games, played at a time limit of five minutes plus a one-second increment, ended 4-4 and Duda edged the Bullet, played with one minute on the clock plus a one-second increment, 5-4.
It was the games played with three minutes each and a one-second increment that decided the match, as So dominated them 8-1. So’s margin of victory was 16-10 and he advanced to the semi-finals, where he will face the winner of the match between Hikaru Nakamura and Vladimir Fedoseev.
J-K. Duda – W. So
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 0–0 5.Bd3 d5 6.cxd5 exd5 7.a3 Bd6 8.Nge2 Re8 9.Qc2 a6 10.h3 (A wasted move as it does not fit with White’s standard plan of f2–f3 After 10.0–0 Bxh2+ 11.Kxh2 Ng4+ 12.Kg3! Qg5 13.f4 Qh5 14.Bd2 Qh2+ 15.Kf3 Black has no threats) 10…b6 11.b4 Nbd7 12.0–0 c5!
13.bxc5 bxc5 14.Rb1? (After 14.dxc5 Nxc5 15.Bb2 Rb8 Black is the more active. As often happens in this line, White’s knight would rather be on f3 not e2, although he should be OK after 16.Rab1 Bd7 17.Rfd1) 14…c4! 15.Bf5 g6! 16.Bxd7 Bxd7 (Bd7-f5 is a threat, White’s position is already a complete mess) 17.g4 (Black is better after 17.Ng3 Bxg3 18.fxg3 Ne4 but not 18…Bf5? 19.Rxf5 gxf5 20.Qxf5, which is not so clear)
17…Nxg4! 18.hxg4 Qh4 19.Ng3 (After 19.Nf4 Qxg4+; 19.f4 Qxg4+ 20.Kf2 Be7! 21.Ke1 Bh4+ 22.Kd1 Bf5 23.Qa4 Qh3 24.Rg1 Bf2 White’s rooks are hopelessly placed and his king will be rounded up soon) 19…Bxg4 20.Rb6
How Did Wesley So Force Checkmate?
Black to play and force mate
Highlight the space below this line to reveal the answer.
20 …Bf3! intending 21 …Qh3 and 22 …Qg2 checkmate.