The Unstoppable Wesley So: 50 Games Without a Loss

Wesley So - 50 Games Wesley So keeps outdoing himself. Days ago, he broke into the World Top 3 for the first time, behind only World Champion Magnus Carlsen and U.S. Champion Fabiano Caruana. Today, his undefeated streak reaches 50 games with his 7th round draw against Pavel Eljanov at Tata Steel Masters. Although the current record for games without a loss is Tal's 95 game undefeated run in 1972, So's streak is especially impressive because his competition has been mostly 2700+ players. His current live rating is 2816.6. In addition, at the halfway point, Wesley So is the sole leader at Tata Steel. World Champion Magnus Carlsen, Pavel Eljanov, and prodigy Wei Yi trail behind him by half a point. Carlsen had chances to tie with So today, but missed a checkmate in 3 (or significant win of material) in an 100+ move marathon game against Anish Giri. Can you find what the World Champion overlooked?

Magnus Carlsen vs. Anish Giri

White to move.
Show Solution
[pgn][Event "Tata Steel"]
[Site "0:07:33-0:17:33"]
[Date "2017.01.21"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Magnus Carlsen"]
[Black "Anish Giri"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D05"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "6k1/2R5/2n1r3/5R1B/7P/6P1/7K/4q3 w - - 0 56"]
[PlyCount "5"]
[EventDate "2017.01.14"]56. Rc8+ ({Instead, Carlsen played} 56. Bf7+ $2 Kh8 {and went on to draw a
very, very long game.} 57. Rh5+ Kg7 58. Bxe6+ Kf6 59. Rh6+ Ke5 60. Bh3 Qd2+ 61.
Bg2 Qxh6 62. Rxc6 Qh7 63. Rc4 Kf6 64. Rg4 Qd7 65. Rg5 Qc7 66. Rb5 Qc2 67. Rb6+
Kg7 68. Re6 Qa2 69. Re7+ Kf6 70. Re4 Kg7 71. Kh3 Qf7 72. Re2 Qf5+ 73. Kh2 Qf6
74. Be4 Qf1 75. Rc2 Qe1 76. Bf3 Qf1 77. Bg2 Qe1 78. Rc7+ Kh8 79. Rc4 Qe2 80.
Re4 Qd2 81. Re6 Qa2 82. Re8+ Kg7 83. Re7+ Kh8 84. Re3 Qd2 85. Rf3 Qd7 86. Rb3
Qe6 87. Rb2 Qe5 88. Rf2 Qe6 89. Bf3 Qe5 90. Kg2 Qf6 91. Re2 Qd8 92. Ra2 Qf6 93.
Rc2 Qe7 94. Rc6 Qd8 95. Rc2 Qe7 96. Rc8+ Kg7 97. Rc6 Kh8 98. Rh6+ Kg7 99. Rh5
Qe1 100. Rd5 Qe7 101. Rb5 Qe1 102. Rb7+ Kh8 103. Rd7 Qe8 104. Rd1 Qc8 105. Re1
Qc3 106. Rf1 Qd2+ 107. Kh3 Qd7+ 108. g4 Qd3 109. Kg2 Qd2+ 110. Rf2 Qe1 111. h5
Kg7 112. Re2 Qa5 113. Re4 Kf6 114. Rf4+ Kg5 115. Rf5+ Qxf5 116. gxf5 Kxf5 117.
Kg3 Kg5 118. Bg4 Kh6 119. Kh4 Kg7 120. Kg5 Kh8 121. h6 Kh7 122. Be6 Kh8 123.
Kg6) 56... Kg7 (56... Re8 {is the only move that doesn't get mated, but after}
57. Rxe8+ {White is winning.}) 57. Rf7+ Kh6 58. Rh8# 1/2-1/2[/pgn]
So's excellent technique in his 5th round game against Pentala Harikrishna gave him the full point at a key moment, leapfrogging him into the lead.
[pgn][Event "Tata Steel"] [Site "0:45:33-0:43:33"] [Date "2017.01.19"] [EventDate "2017.01.14"] [Round "4"] [Result "1-0"] [White "Wesley So"] [Black "Pentala Harikrishna"] [ECO "A05"] [WhiteElo "?"] [BlackElo "?"] [PlyCount "95"] 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 g6 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.c4 c5 5.Nc3 d5 6.d4 cxd4 7.Nxd4 dxc4 8.Qa4+ Nbd7 9.O-O O-O 10.Rd1 Nb6 11.Qa3 Qd6 12.Qxd6 exd6 13.a4 a6 14.Bf4 d5 15.a5 Nbd7 16.Rac1 Rd8 17.Bc7 Re8 18.Bd6 Ne5 19.Bxd5 Nxd5 20.Nxd5 Bg4 21.Rd2 Red8 22.Nb6 Rxd6 23.Nxa8 Nc6 24.Nf3 Rxd2 25.Nxd2 Bxb2 26.Rxc4 Bxe2 27.Re4 Bd3 28.Re3 Nb4 29.Nb6 Bd4 30.Re7 Nc6 31.Rxb7 Nxa5 32.Rd7 Nc6 33.Nb3 Bf5 34.Rxd4 Nxd4 35.Nxd4 Bd3 36.Kg2 Kf8 37.Kf3 Ke7 38.Ke3 Bf1 39.Nf3 Kd6 40.Kd4 f6 41.Nd2 Be2 42.Nd5 f5 43.Nc3 Bh5 44.Nc4+ Ke6 45.f4 Kd7 46.Kc5 h6 47.Nd5 Ke6 48.Nc7+ 1-0[/pgn]
Here are So's thoughts after the game: In 2016, So added the Sinquefield Cup and an Olympiad gold medal to his achievements, will Tata Steel be next? Watch live games and commentary for round 8 tomorrow, starting at 7:30 AM EST. For more information, visit the Tata Steel Official Website.

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