So sees action in French chess league

Grandmaster Maxime Vahier-Lagrave of France. PHOTO BY FRENCH TOP 12 CHESS LEAGUE


By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS – After a long lay off, Wesley So is back in action with the Top 12 French League Team chess championships featuring some of the best players in Europe.

So, who is spearheading the tournament favorite, Clichy, was off to a good start, drawing the first game and winning in the second round.

Clichy won the championships last year, completing a three-peat, and is picked to win again this year with a bevy of super talents led by So.

The team also features the man they call MVL, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, the top French grandmaster, who has won two straight after being in the doldrums for 94 days and 28 tries.

Scheduled May 30 to June 9, the tournament, the French highest league for men, is being held in the seaside resort of Le Grau-du-Roi, and its marina Port-Camargue.

Competing this year are Vandoeuvre, Bischwiller, Chalons-en-Champagne, Poitiers-Migne, Clichy, Evry Grand Roque, Philidor Mulhouse, Bois-Colombes, Strasbourg, Montpellier, Metz Fischer, Grasse, according to the chess website,

Aside from So and MVL, among the participants are Anish Giri, the Dutch grandmaster who also appears to be in a funk after losing to So in his first-round game at the Gashimov Memorial tournament in Azerbaijan, and David Navara,who is scheduled to face So in a four-game match later in June in Prague.

It’s So’s first tournament since finishing an impressive third behind reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen and five-time champion Vishy Anand in the Gashimov Memorial championships in Azerbaijan.

Also competing in France are Laurent Fressinet, Etienne Bacrot, Alexander Ipatov, Tornike Sanikidze, Dmitry Jakovenko, Mattthieu Cornette, Sebastien Maze, Pavel Tregubov, and Laurent Fressinet, said

In the first round, So could not make headway against Jan Krzysztof, a 17-year-old Polish player, but in the second round, he proved too much for grandmaster Eduardes Rozentalis, who was forced to resign after 43 moves.

A weak move in what looked like a drawish endgame with equal material proved to be Rozentalis undoing.

With seven grandmasters, three of whom are rated 2700 or better, Clitchy outplayed Strasbourg in the second round, 4 1/2 to 3 1/2 points.

The moves:

Rozentalis -0               So – 1

1. e4      e6
2. d4      d5
3. Nd2    Be7
4. c3       c5
5. dxc5    Nf6
6. exd5    Nxd5
7. Ne4      O-O
8. Nf3       Qc7
9. Bc4       b6
10. O-O     Rd8
11. Qe2      bxc5
12. Bg5       Bxg5
13. Nexg5    h6
14. Ne4       Nd7
15. Rad1     Bb7
16. Rfe1       N7b6
17 Bb3         a5
18. a3           Ba6
19. c4          Nf4
20. Qc2       Bb7
21. Qc3        .f5
22. Ng3          a4
23. Bc2          Qc6
24. h4            Rd4
25. Rxd4        cxd4
26. Qxd4        Qxc4
27. Qxb6        Bxf3
28. Bxf5          exf5
29. gxf3          Rf8
30. h5             Nh3+
31. Kg2          .Nf4+
32. Kg1            Nh3+
33. Kg2            Qh4
34. Qe6+         Kh7
35. Qg6+         Kh8
36. Qd6            Rd8
37. Qa6            Nf4+
38. Kg1            Nh3+
39. Kg2            Nf4+
40. Kg1            Kh7
41. Qf1            Nh3+
42. Kg2            Nf4+
43. Kg1            Rd2


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