Welcome to the Chessdom live commentary of Corus 2009! The games to be commented depend on your votes (more info). Submit your vote for round 4 here. Yet before the 1st round we predicted that Wesley So is going to become very popular but the voting exceeded our expectations by far - twice as many fans as Magnus Carlsen is something noteworthy. As the audience wishes, we shall go on following the talent from Philipines.
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 A fashionable way to avoid a lot of Black's favorite lines in the Slav Defense.
4... a6 Not the main line but playable as well.
5.Bd3 Bg4 6.Nbd2 e6 7.O-O Nbd7 8.Qc2 White is not trying to get directly the opening advantage but prefers simply to develop comfortably his pieces.
8... Bd6 9.b3 Qe7 So as well positions his pieces harmoniously.
10.Bb2 g6 This strange looking move is preparing the exchange of the light-squared Bishops by Bg4-f5.
11.Rfe1 O-O 12.Ne5 Bf5 Black will succeed in trading the Bishops but after White plays e3-e4 after a preliminary exchange on 'd7', there will be exchanged too many pieces.
13.Nxd7 Qxd7 14.e4 dxe4 15.Nxe4 Bxe4 16.Bxe4 Qc7 17.g3 Nxe4 18.Rxe4 A position of complete equality has arisen. It seems to be exactly what White was aiming for from the opening.
18... Be7 The Bishop is to be transfered to 'f6'. 19.d5 is not so dangerous as it looks at first glance. Wesley is playing very simple positional chess hence no need to give long lines.
19.Rd1 Rad8 20.h4 A flank diversion. Black should probably follow his plan - Bf6, doubling the Rooks on the 'd' file and prepare b7-b5 and/or c6-c5.
20... Bf6 21.h5 Rd7 22.Kg2 The Rd1 may use the 'h' file to assist the attack so the 1st rank is cleared.
22... Rfd8 23.hxg6 hxg6 24.Rh1 ( It seems that So will have to play 24.Rh1 Bxd4 (24... Bg7 25.Qc1 is too dangerous) 25.Qc1 Bxb2 26.Qxb2 e5 27.Rxe5 Rd4 28.Re8+ Rxe8 29.Qxd4+ Qe5 with complete equality.)
24... Bxd4 25.Qd2 Bxb2 (25... Bg7 26.Bxg7 Rxd2 27.Bf6)
26.Qxb2 e5 27.Rxe5 Rd4 28.Qe2 c5 Only defense but sufficient.
29.Re8+ Kg7 30.Rxd8 Rxd8 31.Qe3 Qc6+ 32.f3 Qf6 33.Qh6+ Kg8 34.Qh7+ Kf8 35.Qh8+ Forces the draw result.
35... Qxh8 36.Rxh8+ Ke7 37.Rxd8 Kxd8 38.Kf2 Ke7 Draw agreed. 1/2