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Wesley So beats Vishy Anand and wins Leon Masters 2017

by Sagar Shah - 10/07/2017

Wesley So has great amount of respect for Vishy Anand. He has said this openly in the past that he has learnt a lot from the five-time World Champion and his games. That's why the youth versus experience battle between So and Anand in the finals of the 30th Leon Masters 2017 was looked forward to with great interest by chess fans all over the world. The rapid section of four games ended with a 2-2 tie. However, Wesley managed to win the match by scoring a win in the blitz. In his first appearance at the Leon Masters, Wesley So goes back home with the winner's trophy!

Anand picked up the rook on a4 and offered a draw. Wesley accepted it. Anand took his coat and immediately left the playing arena.
A jubilant Wesley and not so happy Vishy
On 9th of July Wesley So had beaten Vishy Anand with a score of 3.5-2.5 to pick up the title of the 30th Leon Masters 2017. Four draws in rapid was followed by Wesley's win in the blitz. A final draw in the sixth game sealed Vishy's hope. So how did it all happen? Let's get down to the games:

Game one:

Vishy came to the board is his blue NIIT shirt, that we are so very accustomed to see him wearing!

The secret of Wesley's concentration - dark glasses!
Let the games begin!
It was going to be four rapid games of 20 minutes + 10 seconds increment and in case of a tie, two blitz games with five miuntes + three seconds of increment. If there is still a tie, then it would be resolved by Armageddon.
The first game was an Anti-Berlin, where Vishy with the black pieces played quite well. He was better at some point, but Wesley held fort and drew the game.
[Event "Magistral Ciudad Leon XXX"]
[Site "Leon"]
[Date "2017.07.09"]
[Round "1.7"]
[White "So, Wesley"]
[Black "Viswanathan, Anand"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C65"]
[WhiteElo "2810"]
[BlackElo "2783"]
[Annotator "TA"]
[PlyCount "77"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. c3 O-O 6. O-O {C65: Ruy Lopez:
Berlin Defence (3... Nf6), unusual lines and 4 0-0 Bc5} (6. Bg5 h6 7. Bh4 Be7
8. O-O d6 9. Bg3 Bd7 10. h3 Nh7 11. Nbd2 Ng5 12. Re1 Nxf3+ 13. Nxf3 Bf6 {
1/2-1/2 (49) Vachier Lagrave,M (2795)-Malakhov,V (2712) Chartres 2017}) 6...
Re8 7. Bg5 a6 {LiveBook: 9 Games} 8. Bc4 Be7 9. a4 d6 10. Nbd2 h6 11. Bh4 Nh5
12. Bxe7 $146 (12. Bg3 $5) ({Predecessor:} 12. Bg3 g6 13. Re1 Bf6 {1-0 (46)
Gopal,G (2560) -Buhmann,R (2633) Bad Wiessee 2016}) 12... Qxe7 13. Re1 Nf4 14.
Nf1 Be6 15. Bxe6 (15. g3 $5 Nh5 16. N3d2 $11) 15... Qxe6 16. g3 Ng6 (16... Nh5
{feels hotter.} 17. Ne3 Nf6 18. b4 Rad8 19. Qc2 d5) 17. d4 exd4 18. cxd4 d5 19.
e5 a5 20. Rc1 Qd7 21. Ne3 Nf8 (21... Nb4 $11) 22. Qb3 ({White should try} 22.
Nh4 $14) 22... Nb4 (22... Ne6 {seems wilder.} 23. Qb5 Red8 24. Red1 Ra6 25. b3
Rb6) 23. Nc2 (23. Nh4 $14) 23... Nxc2 $11 24. Rxc2 Ne6 25. Rc3 Reb8 26. Qb5
Qxb5 27. axb5 a4 28. Ra1 Ra5 29. b4 Ra7 30. Rca3 Rba8 31. Rc1 g5 {Hoping for ..
.g4.} 32. h3 h5 33. g4 hxg4 34. hxg4 Kg7 35. Kf1 Rh8 {Threatens to win with ...
Nxd4!} (35... c6 $5 36. bxc6 bxc6 $15) 36. Ke2 Rh3 37. Rca1 Ra8 38. Rxa4 Nf4+
39. Ke3 {Precision: White = 49%, Black = 57%.} 1/2-1/2

Game two:

The centre stage taken by two of the best players in the world
In the second game Wesley played the French and very quickly got a positional advantage. He exchanged the queens so that all the hopes of an attack for Anand were lost. And one by one all the pawns started to fall like ripe mangoes. In order to continue the game Anand had to give up a piece. It seemed as if all was over, but Vishy magically managed to draw the game! It was simply quite unbelievable!
[Event "Magistral Ciudad Leon XXX"]
[Site "Leon"]
[Date "2017.07.09"]
[Round "1.8"]
[White "Viswanathan, Anand"]
[Black "So, Wesley"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C18"]
[WhiteElo "2783"]
[BlackElo "2810"]
[Annotator "TA"]
[PlyCount "127"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 Ne7 7. Qg4 Kf8 8. Bd2
b6 {[%emt 0:00:07] C18: French: 3 Nc3 Bb4: Main line: h4 and 7 Qg4} (8... Qa5
9. a4 c4 10. h4 Bd7 11. h5 h6 12. Rh3 Nbc6 13. Rf3 Rg8 14. Qf4 Nd8 15. Bc1 Ke8
16. Ba3 Qxa4 {1-0 (36) Swiercz,D (2646)-Cruz,C (2531) Merida 2016}) 9. Nf3 Ba6
{LiveBook: 3 Games} 10. dxc5 Bxf1 {The position is equal.} 11. Kxf1 bxc5 $146 (
{Predecessor:} 11... Nd7 12. cxb6 Nxb6 13. Bg5 h6 14. Bxe7+ Qxe7 15. Qb4 Nc4
16. Ke2 {1/2-1/2 (30) Guadalpi,D (2315)-Novik,M (2466) FIDE.com 2002}) 12. h4
h5 13. Qf4 Ng6 14. Qe3 Nd7 15. Rh3 (15. c4 $11) 15... Rb8 (15... c4 $15) 16. c4
$11 d4 17. Qe4 Qc7 (17... Nb6 $5) 18. Re1 Qb7 19. Qd3 Kg8 20. Rg3 Ne7 21. Kg1
Nf5 22. Rg5 (22. Rh3 $1 $15) 22... Nf8 (22... g6 $17 23. Bf4 Qc6) 23. Bf4 Ng6
24. Bg3 Re8 25. Nd2 Qe7 (25... Qc7 {feels hotter.} 26. Ne4 Rb8 27. c3 dxc3 28.
Rxf5 exf5 29. e6 fxe4 30. Qxe4 Qc8) 26. Ne4 Rf8 27. Rb1 Rh6 28. Qf3 Nfxh4 29.
Bxh4 Nxh4 30. Qf6 Qxf6 31. exf6 Rg6 32. Rb5 (32. fxg7 $11 {keeps the balance.}
Kxg7 33. Rb7) 32... Rxg5 $17 ({Of course not} 32... gxf6 $6 33. Nxf6+ Kg7 34.
Nxh5+ Kh6 35. Rxg6+ Nxg6 36. Nf6 $11 (36. Rxc5 Rb8 $15)) 33. Nxg5 gxf6 {
Endgame KRN-KRN} 34. Ne4 f5 35. Nf6+ $1 Kg7 36. Nxh5+ Kh6 37. Nf4 (37. Nf6 $1
$15) 37... Rg8 (37... e5 $17 38. Ne2 Rc8) 38. Rxc5 {[#]} ({White should try}
38. Nd3 $1 $15) 38... e5 $1 $19 39. Nd3 (39. Rc6+ $142 Kh7 40. Nd5 Rxg2+ 41.
Kf1) (39. Rxe5 Nf3+) 39... Rxg2+ 40. Kf1 e4 $1 41. Ne1 Rh2 $1 42. Rc8 $2 (42.
Kg1 Rh3 43. Ra5) 42... Rh1+ 43. Ke2 f4 44. Rh8+ (44. c5 $142 Kg7 45. f3 Rh2+
46. Kf1) 44... Kg7 45. Rh5 Kg6 46. Rh8 Kg7 47. Rh5 f3+ 48. Nxf3 exf3+ {KRN-KR}
49. Kd2 Kf6 $2 (49... Rh2 50. Kd3 Kg6) 50. c5 Ke6 51. Rh6+ Kd7 52. a4 Kc7 53.
a5 {[#]} f6 $1 {And now ...Kc6 would win.} 54. Kd3 (54. Rxf6 Rf1) 54... Rd1+
55. Ke4 {[#]} (55. Kc4 $17 {might work better.}) 55... Ng2 $1 56. Rxf6 Rd2 57.
a6 Rxc2 58. Rf7+ $2 (58. Rxf3 {was the crucial defense.} Rxc5 59. Kxd4) 58...
Kc6 59. Rxa7 Rxf2 60. Rf7 Kxc5 {White must now prevent ...Ne1.} 61. Rxf3 {[#]}
Ra2 $2 (61... Re2+ $1 $19 62. Kd3 Re5) 62. Rf8 {Black is slightly better.} Ra4
63. a7 Rxa7 64. Rc8+ {Precision: White = 40%, Black = 60%.} 1/2-1/2

Game three:

Giant screens to follow the match for the spectators

Wesley played 1.d4 and Anand replied with the Nimzo Indian. Very soon the American GM built up a great position, only to be ruined by a few inaccuracies. Once again Anand managed to come out of it unscathed.

[Event "Magistral Ciudad Leon XXX"]
[Site "Leon"]
[Date "2017.07.09"]
[Round "1.9"]
[White "So, Wesley"]
[Black "Viswanathan, Anand"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "E48"]
[WhiteElo "2810"]
[BlackElo "2783"]
[Annotator "TA"]
[PlyCount "64"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 O-O 5. Bd3 c5 6. Nge2 d5 7. cxd5 cxd4 8.
exd4 Nxd5 9. a3 {[%emt 0:00:06] E48: Nimzo-Indian: Rubinstein: 5 Bd3 d5
including Ne2, but excluding 6 a3} Bd6 10. Qc2 $146 ({Predecessor:} 10. O-O Nc6
11. Nxd5 exd5 12. Be3 Re8 13. Nf4 Qg5 14. Qd2 Nxd4 15. Bxh7+ Kxh7 16. Qxd4 Re4
17. Qxd5 Qxd5 18. Nxd5 Be5 {1-0 (79) Jakovenko,D (2713)-Lysyj,I (2656)
Ekaterinburg 2013}) 10... h6 11. O-O Nc6 12. Rd1 {LiveBook: 3 Games} Nxc3 13.
Nxc3 Ne7 14. Qe2 Re8 15. Qe4 {[#] Qh7+ is the strong threat.} Ng6 16. Be3 a6
17. g3 f5 18. Qf3 Rb8 19. Qh5 Ne7 20. d5 e5 $1 21. Ba7 Ra8 22. Bb6 g6 23. Bxd8
gxh5 24. Bb6 Bd7 25. b4 Rac8 26. Rac1 Kg7 27. h4 $36 {White has the initiative.
} Ng8 28. Bf1 Nf6 29. Bg2 Rc4 30. Bf1 Rcc8 31. Bg2 Rc4 32. Bf1 Rcc8 {Precision:
White = 57%, Black = 48%.} 1/2-1/2

Game four:

Four rapid games - all ended in draws!

Once again Anand was on the backfoot. He was a pawn down and Wesley was pushing. But yet again the Indian showed tremendous defensive skills to hold the game. The rapid portion of the event had ended with a 2-2 tie.

[Event "Magistral Ciudad Leon XXX"]
[Site "Leon"]
[Date "2017.07.09"]
[Round "1.10"]
[White "Viswanathan, Anand"]
[Black "So, Wesley"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C42"]
[WhiteElo "2783"]
[BlackElo "2810"]
[Annotator "TA"]
[PlyCount "132"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. Nc3 Nxc3 6. dxc3 Be7 7. Be3 Nd7
8. Bd3 {C42: Petroff Defence: 3 Nxe5 and unusual White 3rd moves} (8. Qd2 Nf6
9. O-O-O O-O 10. Bd3 c5 11. Rhe1 Be6 12. Bg5 d5 13. Qf4 Re8 14. Kb1 h6 15. Bxf6
Bxf6 {1/2-1/2 (29) Harika,D (2535) -Kosteniuk,A (2542) Khanty-Mansiysk 2017})
8... O-O 9. Qe2 Re8 10. O-O-O Bf6 11. h4 Nf8 $146 ({Predecessor:} 11... Ne5 12.
Nxe5 Bxe5 13. Qh5 g6 14. Qe2 Bf4 15. g4 Bxe3+ 16. fxe3 {0-1 (65) Vanczak,T
(2137)-Pribelszky,B (2096) Balatonlelle 2016}) 12. Ng5 d5 (12... h6 $11) 13.
Qh5 $36 {White has good play.} g6 14. Qf3 h5 15. Qg3 Bg4 16. Rde1 c6 17. f3 $1
Bd7 18. Qf2 Qa5 19. Kb1 Re7 20. g4 (20. Rd1 $16) 20... Rae8 $11 21. Bd2 Qb6 ({
Of course not} 21... hxg4 $6 22. fxg4 Rxe1+ 23. Bxe1 $16) 22. Qxb6 (22. Qg3 $14
) 22... Rxe1+ 23. Bxe1 axb6 24. gxh5 gxh5 25. Bf2 c5 26. c4 dxc4 27. Ne4 Be7
28. Bxc4 Ng6 29. Bd5 Bc6 30. c4 (30. Bxc6 $11 {remains equal.} bxc6 31. a4)
30... Rd8 (30... Bxd5 $17 31. cxd5 Rd8) 31. Bxc6 bxc6 32. Kc2 Ne5 33. Nd2 Nd3
34. Be3 (34. Bg3 $15) 34... f5 $1 $17 35. Rg1+ Kf7 36. Bg5 Nb4+ 37. Kd1 Nxa2 (
37... Rd4 $17 38. a3 Nd3) 38. Bxe7 $15 Kxe7 $17 {Endgame KRN-KRN} 39. Rg5 Kf6
40. Rxh5 Nb4 41. b3 $2 {[#]} (41. Rh7 $15) 41... Ke5 $1 $19 42. Rh7 {[#]} Kd4
$1 43. Re7 Rh8 (43... Kd3 $19 44. Nf1 Kc3+ 45. Ke2 Kxb3) 44. f4 $17 Kd3 45. Nf3
({White should try} 45. Nf1) 45... Nc2 (45... Kc3 $17 46. Re3+ Kb2) 46. Re2 $15
Nd4 47. Ne5+ Kc3 48. Re3+ Kb4 49. Rh3 Rh5 50. Kc1 Nxb3+ 51. Kb2 $1 Nd4 {
Hoping for ...b5.} 52. Rc3 $1 {White wants to mate with Nd3+.} b5 53. cxb5 (53.
Nd3+ $11 {was the only way to keep the balance.} Ka5 54. cxb5) 53... cxb5 ({
Black should play} 53... Kxb5 $17 54. Rh3 c4) 54. Nd3+ $11 Ka5 {...c4 is the
strong threat.} 55. Rxc5 Rxh4 {With the idea ...Ka4.} 56. Rd5 Rh2+ 57. Kb1 $1
Rh1+ 58. Kb2 Rh2+ 59. Kb1 $1 Ne2 60. Rxf5 Nc3+ 61. Kc1 {The position is equal.}
Ka4 62. Re5 Kb3 63. Nc5+ $1 Kc4 {And now ...b4 would win.} 64. Ne4 $1 Ne2+ 65.
Kd1 Nd4 {Threatens to win with ...Rh1+.} 66. Nd2+ Rxd2+ {Precision: White =
54%, Black = 55%.} 1/2-1/2

Game five:

Wesley So, with the Georgio Armani glasses, finally managed to make inroads, by winning the first blitz game!

Anand's error was punished brutally by Wesley as he chalked up a win in just 22 moves! The final move Nd8 was quite pretty.

[Event "Magistral Ciudad Leon XXX"]
[Site "Leon"]
[Date "2017.07.09"]
[Round "1.11"]
[White "So, Wesley"]
[Black "Viswanathan, Anand"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A08"]
[WhiteElo "2810"]
[BlackElo "2783"]
[Annotator "TA"]
[PlyCount "45"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 c5 3. Bg2 Nf6 4. O-O g6 5. c4 dxc4 (5... Bg7 6. Qa4+ Bd7 7. Qb3
dxc4 8. Qxc4 Qb6 9. Ne5 Be6 10. Qa4+ Nbd7 11. d3 O-O 12. Nc4 Qc7 {1/2-1/2 (48)
Giri,A (2764)-Anand,V (2775) Leuven 2017}) 6. Qa4+ {A08: King's Indian Attack}
Bd7 ({Black should play} 6... Nfd7 $14) 7. Qxc4 $16 {Hoping for Ng5.} Qb6 8.
Nc3 $146 (8. Ng5 $16) ({Predecessor:} 8. d3 Bg7 9. Qc2 O-O 10. Nc3 Na6 11. a3
Rac8 12. Ne5 Be6 {1/2-1/2 (25) Kovar,V-Kuchar,J Svetla nad Sazavou 1997}) 8...
Bg7 9. d3 O-O 10. Be3 Rc8 11. Rab1 $36 {White is more active.} Be6 (11... Qb4
$14) 12. Qh4 Qa6 (12... Nbd7 $16 {keeps fighting.}) 13. Ng5 $18 Nbd7 14. Nxe6
fxe6 15. Qc4 Qxc4 16. dxc4 Rab8 17. Rfd1 Ne5 18. b3 b6 (18... a6 $16 19. Bf4
Nh5) 19. Nb5 a6 20. Bf4 Nfg4 21. Na7 Rc7 {[#]} (21... Rf8 $142 22. h3 Nxf2) 22.
Nc6 $1 Rbc8 (22... Rxc6 23. Bxc6) 23. Nd8 {Precision: White = 62%, Black = 20%.
} 1-0

Game six:

This was Anand's final chance to equalize the scores in the match and take the game into the armageddon. But Wesley's Petroff was just too solid. Seeing that there is absolutely no way to win the game, Anand offered a draw which was accepted by Wesley. And thus the youngster became the Leon Masters Champion.

[Event "Magistral Ciudad Leon XXX"]
[Site "Leon"]
[Date "2017.07.09"]
[Round "1.12"]
[White "Viswanathan, Anand"]
[Black "So, Wesley"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C42"]
[WhiteElo "2783"]
[BlackElo "2810"]
[Annotator "TA"]
[PlyCount "77"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. Nc3 Nxc3 6. dxc3 Be7 7. Be3 O-O
8. Bd3 {C42: Petroff Defence: 3 Nxe5 and unusual White 3rd moves} (8. Qd2 Nc6
9. O-O-O Ne5 10. Nxe5 dxe5 11. Bd3 Be6 12. Kb1 Qe8 13. Qe2 f5 14. f3 Qf7 15. b3
Bd6 16. Rhf1 Kh8 17. Bc1 b6 18. h4 Qh5 19. Qe1 {1/2-1/2 (38) Sasikiran,K (2669)
-Ivanchuk,V (2738) Matanzas 2017}) 8... Nc6 9. Qe2 Bg4 10. h3 $146 ({
Predecessor:} 10. O-O-O a6 11. h3 Be6 12. Nd4 Nxd4 13. cxd4 Bf6 14. d5 Bd7 15.
h4 Bb5 {1/2-1/2 (49) Low,Z (1688)-Bayasgalan,K Maribor 2012}) 10... Bxf3 11.
Qxf3 Ne5 (11... Re8 $11) 12. Qxb7 $16 Rb8 13. Qxa7 Rxb2 14. O-O Bf6 15. a4 Qc8
16. Rab1 (16. Be4 $16) 16... Nc6 $14 17. Qa6 Qxa6 18. Bxa6 Rfb8 19. Bb5 Rxb1
20. Rxb1 Na5 21. Rd1 Bxc3 22. Rd3 Bb4 {Black wants to play ...c6.} 23. c3 Ba3
$1 24. Rd1 Kf8 25. h4 c6 26. Bd3 g6 27. Re1 f6 28. Ra1 Bc5 29. Bxc5 dxc5 $11 {
Endgame KRB-KRN} 30. Rb1 Rd8 31. Bf1 Ke7 32. g3 c4 33. Rb6 {Threatens to win
with Ra6.} Ra8 $1 34. Rb2 Nb3 35. Ra2 Ra5 36. Bxc4 Nc5 37. Bg8 h6 (37... Kf8
$15 38. Bc4 Rxa4 39. Rxa4 Nxa4) 38. Bh7 Rxa4 39. Rxa4 {Precision: White = 49%,
Black = 58%.} 1/2-1/2

In the battle between youth and experience, it was youth that prevailed. It was Wesley's first appearance in Leon and he goes back home with great memories! Vishy has to try for his tenth title in Leon next year!

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