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Jeffery Xiong vs Wesley So
"Wes Side Story" (game of the day Feb-10-2018)
US Championship (2017), St Louis, MO USA, rd 9, Apr-07
Catalan Opening: Closed Variation (E06)  ·  0-1


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Given 6 times; par: 26 [what's this?]

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find similar games 3 more J Xiong/W So games
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Kibitzer's Corner
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Apr-07-17  bubuli55: < beenthere240: Sad that white didn't notice that he could take black's queen. >

32.Qxd1 c2
33.Qc1 Rb1
34.c7 Rxc1+
35.Kf2 Rf1+
and black wins.

Apr-08-17  HeMateMe: can black win quicker by playing 28...QxR+ immediately, followed by c2?
Apr-08-17  maelith: <An Englishman: Good Evening: Best game in US Championship history? What does everyone else think? 28...Rd8 is an amazing move, but even if it's opening theory, 13...c5 is quite a move--one doesn't normally try to force the opponent to play a discovered attack on one's own Queen.>

No disrespect intended, but there are better US championship games than this.For example I like the positional wins by Fischer in the US championship. But this is a nice win by Wesley.

Apr-08-17  Muttley101: <An Englishman: Good Evening: Best game in US Championship history? What does everyone else think? 28...Rd8 is an amazing move, but even if it's opening theory, 13...c5 is quite a move--one doesn't normally try to force the opponent to play a discovered attack on one's own Queen.>

Whilst I think comparisons are a bit divisive, I'm going to say "no" to this one, on the grounds that Fischer's win as black against Byrne (63/64) from a symmetrical English still strikes me as the best ever. The combination is stunning, as are the supporting variations. BUT! This game is up there with it :) (which is why I say comparisons are divisive.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  luzhin: Note that if So had played 30...exd4?? then Xiong wins with 31.c7!
Premium Chessgames Member
  iking: cg database have shown that Wesley So has a good result with closed Catalan, amazing.

17. W So vs Nakamura 1-0 38 2016 Sinquefield Cup E06 Catalan, Closed, 5.Nf3

18. W So vs Adams 1-0 40 2016 London Chess Classic E06 Catalan, Closed, 5.Nf3

19. W So vs R Wojtaszek 1-0 34 2017 Tata Steel E06 Catalan, Closed, 5.Nf3

20. J Xiong vs W So 0-1 31 2017 US Championship E06 Catalan, Closed, 5.Nf3

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Englishman, Good Afternoon,

This is a very good game.

"Best game in US Championship history?"

AT first I thought you might be quoting this claim from another thread.

Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder.

If you can get your hands on 'Winning the Won Game' by Danny Kopec & Ludomir Ftacnik you will see all the winners of the Paul Albert Brilliancy Prizes awarded in the US Championship from 1984 - 2003 and in some cases the 2nd and 3rd winners. 64 games in all.

This is one of the games. (it was played in Chandler, Arizona so it must be good.)

Wolff vs Gulko, 1992

The whole book is full of such gems. If Wes had played this game between the above dates I think it would have got in somewhere, but the best game in US Champion history?....Maybe next year.

But a good shout.

Good afternoon.


PS: Never quite sure about the title 'Winning the Won Game' It adds on the cover in a smaller font 'Lessons from the Albert Brilliancy Prizes'.

'Lessons' sounds like there is work for me to do here. I'm laziness personified.

'Brilliancy Prize Winners of the US Championships 1984-2003' is the kind of book I would buy without even browsing through it first.

Excellent book = 100% recommended.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: Battle of the exclamation points on moves 20 and 21. The finish was So amazing, too, but I wouldn't pick the game as an all-time favorite. So's phenomenal, of course, but I'm a great admirer of Caruana's games and I don't think it's possible to draw any profound inferences about his destiny just because he has a bad day from time to time. I'm sure he'll come out of his slump in the near future.
Apr-08-17  Toribio3: Bravo Wesley Kabayan! You are our Filipino hero.
Apr-09-17  clement41: The endgame skills displayed here are simply flabbergasting. I can't help but treat this as the 21st century equivalent to M Ortueta Esteban vs J Sanz, 1933 (or is it Tylkowski vs A Wojciechowski, 1931 ? ;-) )
Premium Chessgames Member
  NM JRousselle: When asked for the best game ever in a US Championship, I also think Byrne - Fischer 1963.
Apr-10-17  Imran Iskandar: <clement41> Nisipeanu vs Caruana, 2015 is a more likely candidate for the 21st century equivalent to those games, in my opinion.
Apr-10-17  southeuro: instead of 28..Rd8 couldn't black take on d1 and push c2 next?
Apr-10-17  gopi11: That was a nice swindle <Imran>, but sorry to burst your bubble, a patzer like me wouldn't even fall for that...
Apr-12-17  Ulhumbrus: In the position after 21...Nxf2 White's queen's rook is not in play but Black's king's rook is.
Apr-12-17  Imran Iskandar: Okay, <gopi11>, would you like to provide a better example then?
Apr-12-17  scholes: Lot of cute tactics but not very deep moves. Mainly because of white. Byrne vs Fisher is something else. This game is not comparable to that game.
Apr-12-17  scholes: But certainly very beautiful game
Apr-12-17  gopi11: <Imran>, like what's everybody's been chirping, the 1963 Byrne vs Fisccher game would be my choice. I sure there's a lot of games worth considering, just can't find the time to do so...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi southeuro,

click for larger view

<"instead of 28..Rd8 couldn't black take on d1 and push c2 next?">

There are a few plausible blitz moves for Black to choose and go wrong in this game.

After 28...Qxd1+ 29.Qxd1 c2 White plays 30.Qe1

click for larger view

And suddenly White is winning. 30...Rb1 is answered with 31.Rc4.

Apr-13-17  Imran Iskandar: <gopi11> We might have had a misunderstanding. What <clement11> said was that he couldn't help but treat this game as the 21st century equivalent of M Ortueta Esteban vs J Sanz, 1933, or Tylkowski vs A Wojciechowski, 1931. He was a bit vague; did he mean that this game resembled those games based on the theme of pawns overpowering heavy pieces, or on the extraordinary endgame skills shown?

I assumed it was the former, and gave my example of Nisipeanu vs Caruana, 2015 which also showcased the theme of pawns overpowering heavy pieces.

In any case, Robert E Byrne vs Fischer, 1963 wasn't in the 21st century, so couldn't have been a 21st century equivalent of the two games <clement11> mentioned.

Premium Chessgames Member

[Fritz 10]: 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 d5 4. Bg2 Be7 5. Nf3 0-0 6. 0-0 dxc4 7. Qc2 a6 8. a4 Bd7 9. Rd1 Bc6 10. Nc3 Bxf3 11. Bxf3 Nc6 12. Bxc6 bxc6 13. Bg5 Rb8 14. e3 [last book move] Opening Explorer c5 15. dxc5 Qe8 16. Rd4 Opening Explorer Nd7 17. Bxe7 Qxe7 18. c6 [18. f4!? =] Ne5 [ ⩱] 19. Qe4 Qc5 20. Nd5 Nd3 [Not 20 ... Nxc6?! 21. Rxc4 exd5 22. Rxc5 dxe4 23. Rxc6 Rxb2 24. Rxa6 ⩲] 21. Nxc7 Nxf2 22. Kxf2 Rxb2+ 23. Kf1 Qh5 24. Qg4 Qxh2 25. Qf3 c3 26. Rc1 [26. Nxa6?? c2 27. Rb4 Ra2 -+] e5 27. Rh4?? [27. Rg4 e4 28. Rxe4 ∓] Qd2 [-+] 28. Rd1 Rd8 29. Nd5 [29. Rxd2 hoping against hope Rdxd2 30. Kg1 Rb1+ 31. Qf1 -+] Rxd5! 30. Rd4 [30. Qxd5 Qf2#] Rxd4 [30 ... exd4?? 31. c7 +-] 31. exd4 Qxd1+! 0-1 [32. Qxd1 c2 -+]

Coaches should teach juniors and students about Black's opening play here against 1. d4 (d5/e6/Nf6/Be7/0-0 in some order) as a sound and solid set-up for starters, then later they can choose whatever Black defense matches their style and taste. This Catalan line with 6 ... dxc4 is a Wesley So specialty Repertoire Explorer: Wesley So (black) . After 12 ... bxc6 Black has tripled c Pawns (the Irish Pawn Center) but open lines on the Queenside, then a Pawn break with 14 ... c5 15. dxc5 Qe8 and chances are even. With 17. Bxe7 Qxe7 they enter the tricky QRRN vs QRRN situation which can be extra sharp. 21 ... Nxf2! is a nice and unexpected sacrifice where Black owns the second rank; 23 ... Qh5 forces 24. Qg4, then 24 ... Qxh2 forces 25. Qf3 and White just made two defensive Queen moves. Fritz suggests 27. Rg4 as holding out longer. 28 ... Rd8! is a great finesse; after 29. Rxd2 Rdxd2 White's weak back rank is fatal.

<if So had played 30...exd4?? then Xiong wins with 31.c7!> Nice swindle.

For those following the action in real time, the two star moves 21 ... Nxf2 and 28 ... Rd8 don't earn any "!" from Fritz but at least 29 ... Rxd5! and 31 ... Qxd1+! did. The first three games on the list featured smashing sacrifices without any punctuation from Fritz the anti-human cyborg. This is also the first Black win.

This game finished at #9 in IM Danny Rensch's rundown of 2017's best games over at <>.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: Yes. Quite an ingenious game by So. I saw it when the US Champs were on...last year. Good commentary by Seirawan and the others.
Feb-10-18  Ironmanth: Brilliant attack by Wesley. Enjoyed this game; thanks!
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: This game truly is a brilliancy. I looked over it before, and yet it was still just as enjoyable today.
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