Wesley So - Manuel Leon Hoyos

Round 6
Corus 2009
Wijk Aan Zee


Vote for round 7 live games Welcome to the round 6 live coverage of Corus 2009 on! One more day the featured game, as chosen by our readers, will be the one of Wesley So. However, no one can complain, as the young Filipino is producing very exciting chess on the board and is surely heading towards the world's top 100. The opponent of So today will be the strong Mexican GM Manuel Leon Hoyos. Both participants won their round 5 games and will be looking for another victory to secure top standings.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Nc3 a6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Nf6 6.h3 The two players begin with a Sicilian Najdorf, an opening always leading to sharp games. 6. h3 is not a very common move, as Topalov commented after the last Corus, "Be3 turns out to be the best continuation for white"

6... g6 7.g4 Bg7 8.Bg2 Wesley So is opting for a fast expansion on the king side, while Bg2 tries to keep the control on the queenside. Surely the choice of opening surprised Manuel Leon Hoyos and he started thinking over his strategy in this position. The situation on the board is still balanced and Leon Hoyos has to choose between counter attack on the queenside or stabilizing the defence of the king after castling 0-0 9.Be3 Nc6 10.Qd2 Nd7 11.Rd1 Nb6

8... O-O 9.Be3 Wesley So answered immediately, showing he is very comfortable with his home preparation.

9... Nc6 10.O-O Manuel Leon Hoyos can choose a risky, but interesting 10... h5 (10. O-O h5 11.f3 Qb6 12.Na4 Qa5 13.Nc3 Nxd4 14.Bxd4 Bd7 15.Qd3) at this point or continue with the plan mentioned above and move the knight to d7

10... Nd7 Played after 25 minutes of thinking. Wesley So is already 30 minutes ahead on the clock and continues cruising smoothly through his preparation. Clock readings 1:50 - 1:17. As white has space for maneuvering, it is time to secure the a1-h8 diagonal with Rb1 and b3. The b3 pawn advance will also hinder the knight walk Nc6-Ne5-Nc4 or Nd7-Nb6-Nc4. This will provoke knight exchange on d4 followed by a bishop exchange on the same square.

11.a4 Nde5 Most likely 12. b3 will follow, as 12. Nxc6 bxc6! allows Black to gain wonderful play down the b-file.

12.b3 Of course, everyone would first look if there is some tactical possibility on the "Dragon's" diagonal, but White can safely support the Nd4 and move the Rook away from danger. That is, unless Black decides to clean up and make double trade with 12...Nxd4 and 13...Nc6. Other interesting possibilities are 12...Rb8!? or 12...Qa5.

12... Bd7 A solid and neutral move that is simply developing a piece, waiting to see what will White do next. 13. f4 is met by 13...Nxd4! and 14...Nc6, while 13. Nce2?! might even drop the initiative to Black - for example, after 13...Qa5 dark squares are already sensitive.

13.Nde2 A "better" Knight for retreat. Wesley So keeps the option of occupying d5 square.

13... f5!? Rather aggressive way to deal with White's center. 14. exf5 opens up diagonal for Bg2, but Black can later slowly advance his own central pawns. The game is becoming really interesting!

14.exf5 gxf5 15.g5 Wesley wants to keep a compact pawn structure, at the same time gaining space for future advance of the h-pawn.

15... Ng6 16.f4 Necessary, otherwise Black would push his f-pawn.

16... h6 Leon Hoyos wants to trade one of the pawns and keep the Knight on g6 as blockader. White can change his mind and break the formation with 17. gxh6!? just to save the possibility of disrupting Black with later h4-h5.

17.gxh6 Bxh6 18.Kh2 Kh7 Both are removing the Kings from the g-file as Rooks will soon clash in there.

19.Qd2 Besides connecting the Rooks, the Queen's move is also a prophylactic measure of enforcing f4 and Nc3.

19... Rg8 20.Rad1 20. Nd5!? with idea Nb6 deserved attention.

20... Qe8 Leon Hoyos is probably planning Nh4 and Qh5...

21.Nd5 Rd8 22.b4!? Excellent practical decision as Black was probably anticipating a fight over the open g-file. Wesley So turns his attention to the queenside and prepares to grab more space. It might be said that Black's counterplay is already late.

22... Rb8 23.c4 Qf7 24.b5 axb5 25.axb5 Nd8 26.Nb6 The clock reads huge time advantage for So, 57:14, but he still continues to play fast.

26... Be6 27.Nd4 Nh4 27...Bxc4? 28. Nxc4 Qxc4 29. Nxf5 with idea Nxh6 would be crushing.

28.Bh1 Qh5 29. Qe2!? or 29. Qf2 with idea Nf3 is looking good

29.Qf2 Bf7 30.Nf3 Rg4!? An attempt to complicate matters... 30...Nxf3+? losses material after 31. Bxf3 Qg6 32. Rg1 Qe6 33. Bd5, but 30...Ng6 31. Ng5+ Bxg5 32. fxg5 Ne5!? was worth a try.

31.Ng5+! Of course, not 31. hxg4 Nxf3+ 32. Kg2 hxg4 with excellent counterplay for Black

31... Bxg5 32.fxg5 Re4 White was already threatening to take the Rook. But now Black is simply lost.

33.Nd7 Ra8 34.Rxd6 This fine tactical blow should mark the end of Black's hopes... The check on h6 is devastating. 34...Be6 won't cover up because White has 35. Bxe4 and Nf8+

34... Rxe3 35.Rh6+ Qxh6 36.gxh6 f4 37.Qxh4 Ra2+ 38.Rf2 and Black resigned. Wesley So gave us a nice lecture on play on two wings. Manuel Leon Hoyos stood well until his poor reaction to 21. Nd5 and 22. b4 when his position started falling apart. Thank you everyone for following the live commentary, see you again tomorrow! 1-0