WIJK AAN ZEE, The Netherlands, Jan. 22 (PNA) — Finally, a win for GM Wesley So.

So, ever so eager to get into the win column following four
consecutive draws, outduelled GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly of India in 30
moves of the French defense and vaulted into a share of third to sixth
places in the 73rd Tata Steel-Corus Group B Chess championship at the De
Morianne Community Center here Thursday.

The 17-year-old Filipino sensation came out with guns blazing
right in the opening moves, keeping his lower-rated but more-experienced
Indian rival (ELO 2651) on the edge of his seat and achieving a
decisive and morale-boosting victory on the black side of the board.

Ganguly made a dubious queen push to e3 on the 25th move and then lost a knight for a pawn two moves later.

So had queen, rook, two bishops and three pawns against Ganguly’s queen, rook and six pawns when the end came.

But the 27-year-old Indian player from Kolkata raised the white flag even before the Filipino could make his 31st move.

Experts said So enjoyed tremendous advantage in the endgame with more attacking opportunities.

Overall, So improved his record to one win and four draws for
three points, only one point behind surprise leader GM Luke McShane of
England and half a point behind GM Zahar Efimenko of Ukraine going into
the sixth round of this 14-player, category-17 tournament.

McShane agreed to a draw with GM Laurent Fressinet of France in
37 moves of the Reti to keep the solo lead with four points, while
Efimenko trounced GM David Navara of the Czech Republic to stay in
second place with 3.5 points.

Top seed GM Radek Wojtaszek of Poland outclassed GM Friso Nijboer
of the Netherlands, while GM Gabriel Sargissian halved the point with
GM Li Chao of China to join So with three points.

GM Jon Ludvig Hammer of Norway, on the other hand, emerged as
the day’s best performer following his fine win over GM Wouter Spoelman
of Netherlands in 36 moves of the Slav.

National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP)
president/chairman Prospero “Butch” Pichay lauded So’s triumph, saying
the win is expected to boost the morale of the Filipino player after
four straight draws.

“A good win for Wesley. I hope this will be the start of better
games and better results for him in Corus,” said Pichay, who is closely
following the games despite his hectic schedule as chair of the Local
Water Utilities Administration (LWUA).

FIDE Southeast Asian zone president and Tagaytay City Mayor
Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino also congratulated So and urged him to
continue to play well and bring more honors to the country.

In Friday’s sixth round, So will play black against Fressinet, seeded third here with an ELO of 2707.