The next king of chess?

Published December 2, 2020, 1:46 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

Wesley So (Photo from chessbase.com)

Can Grandmaster Wesley So become world champion some day?

As far as retired Russian former world champion Vladimir Kramnik, he thinks So can.

“He can be better, he’s very stable but I believe in his talent and class and he’s big enough to challenge Magnus Carlsen in serious classical chess, he can really do it in my opinion,” said Kramnik in an online interview at Chess24.

The topic came just a few days after So shocked Carlsen, the reigning champion in standard, rapid and blitz, in ruling the Skilling Open of the 2020 Champions Chess Tour.

Interestingly, Kramnik, who reigned as undisputed world champion in 2006 and 2007, picked Carlsen to win over So before their final showdown in the Skilling Open.

“I would have said 50-50 but just because of the game, I gave 55 percent,” said Kramnik.

Kramnik may have reason to choose Carlsen, who dominated the majority of the tournaments held this year.

But on this one, So was not to be denied as he replicated last year’s 13.5-2.5 win over Carlsen in emerging the world champion of Fischer-Random.

Kramnik said he considers the Cavite-born So, who also won his second United States Championship title last month, an underachiever.

Read: Wesley So on possible PH comeback: Who knows?

 “In my personal opinion, he’s one of the main underachievers in top level chess. Nowadays, I believe he’s extremely strong and high level,” said Kramnik. “His chess is really very good but not completely at the level with Magnus but really, really close.”

“I hope he overcomes his certain problems and he can realize his potential,” he added.

For So to have a legitimate chance at challenging for the title, Kramnik believes he must find ways to reach his true potential.

“His name is not as big as his play, is not worse than anyone. The general public does not know how strong he is. We professionals know he can win, and definitely knows how to play,” he said.

 
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