♟️ Wesley So wins final leg of FIDE grand prix series, Hikaru and Richard qualify for Candidates¶
The final match of the FIDE Grand Prix 2022 series organised by World Chess was finished on April 4th. In the final match tiebreaker GM Wesley
So of USA defeated his countrymen GM Hikaru Nakamura by a score of one
and half : half and won the third leg of the Grand Prix in Berlin. The
tournament winner and the runner-up looked happy at the closing ceremony
as both of them were successful in the major tournament and world
championship cycle. Despite the loss in the final match, Hikaru Nakamura
qualified for the FIDE Candidates Tournament 2022 and became the overall
winner of FIDE Grand Prix Series 2022. Richard Rapport, who is the
second in the overall standings and also qualified for the Candidates,
while Wesley So was third in overall Series.
After the match ended, Wesley So said: “I am only 28, and I’m hoping
that next year or in a couple of years, I will get a chance to play in
the Candidates. The last time I played, I was very inexperienced and
finished second to last, so I think if you qualify, you have to be ready
to fight for first place.”
Hikaru Nakamura: “The odds [of winning the whole series] were probably 10-15% before everything began. I was quite fortunate in the first leg as I got players who hadn’t played as much; they weren’t sharp.”
In the first tiebreaker game, Hikaru played the Bishop opening with white, which was a shocker to Wesley So as he didn’t expect to see this on the board today. However, Wesley played confidently with Black and got a decisive positional advantage by move 15. Hikaru showed his excellent defensive skills and tenaciousness, and after a couple of mistakes by Wesley, he managed to create a very dangerous attack on the kingside. It was Wesley’s turn to find the only moves to defend his position and stay in the game. After several evaluation swings and Evaluation bar dancing in this complicated game, the opponents split a point in a drawish rook ending.
In the second game, the Berlin Defense in Ruy Lopez was played. White managed to get a pleasant edge, but the position seemed quite balanced until a certain point. Wesley exchanged the queens at the cost of doubling his pawns on the d-file but with creative play made some initiative in the center. On the 32nd move, Hikaru made a terrible blunder and after a simple refutation found himself in a hopeless position. Wesley emerged a piece up and then slowly with good technique converted his advantage to win the game and the match.
FIDE Grand Prix Series 2022 final standings: