Cebu chess backs So

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Monday, June 9, 2014


CEBU chess luminaries are supporting Grandmaster Wesley So’s move to leave the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) for the United States Chess Federation (USCF).

On the other hand, So’s open letter to NCFP president Prospero Pichay that was posted by his mentor Susan Polgar, drew heat from the Philippine chess leadership.

“The US has more international players, offers bigger (cash) prizes and he can accelerate his ratings faster. We wish him all the luck,” leading chess patron Boojie Lim of Rose Pharmacy told Sun.Star Cebu.

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In his letter to Pichay, So expressed his gratitude for the support NCFP has given to him especially when he was still a young and budding chess talent.

“My family has permanently moved to Canada. I now live and attend school full-time in the United States (at Webster University). I plan to reside permanently here. This is where I will have opportunity to improve my chess, and make a decent living as a professional player,” So’s said in his letter.

International Master Kim Steven Yap said this thing is just normal in chess, especially when a player does not get enough support for his endeavors.

“Normal ra gyud na panghitaboa. Wesley put his self interest first. Mas maayo ug moduwa siya para nato (country), but he was not given enough compensation for all the things he has done (for the Philippines). Even the media barely know him,” Yap said.

NCFP will earn 50,000 euros if ever it would grant So’s transfer request. It Pichay’s group will not grant his request, So will have to sit out two years to complete the transfer requirement of Fide.

“If you choose not to approve my transfer request, I have no way of paying the 50,000 euros fees to the NCFP. Therefore, I will have no choice but to sit out another year to fulfill my full two-year waiting period so no transfer fees are needed. This will not benefit the NCFP at all. However, it will severely slow down my progress by not being able to play in official Fide events such as the World Cup,” So said.

So is currently ranked no.15 among all the chess players in the world with an Elo rating of 2744.

Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association (Cepca) officials are also supporting Wesley’s move.

“It will open more opportunities for him to become a top 10 player and hopefully a world champion. Anyway, he will always be a Filipino and we will always take pride of all his future achievements,” Cepca president Jerry Maratas said.

“Personally, that will be very good for his chess future. If he will continue playing for NCFP, it will not be good to him. For me, he made an excellent decision,” said Cepca tournament committee chairman Jun Olis.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 10, 2014.

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