FAST-rising toddler Scott Matthew Escalera of Cagayan de Oro descent, ended the year 2019 with a bang after another chess achievement in the United States.

The Filipino-American Escalera, whose biological father Ren Vincent Escalera is a native of Cagayan de Oro, was adjudged “Player of the Year” by Chess Vets (CV) during their fourth annual Christmas and awards rites and party on December 21, 2019 in Illinois, Chicago.

Chess Vets is one of the most prestigious and philanthropic chess non-profit organizations in Illinois.

The award was handed over by no other than the delighted club president Michael Lenox along with Robert Stoltz, the club vice president.

The organization based its merits on Escalera’s remarkable performances in 2019, including first place finish in 2019 K1 Illinois Chess Championship, 2019 first grade Illinois State All Grade Championships and 2019 K3 Ice Harbor Championships.

Not only that, the whiz kid from Oak Park, Illinois became the highest rated 6-year-old player in the United States Chess Federation (USCF), the sole governing body of chess in the US.

He also finished tenth place in both the World Open under 13 and recently the National All Grade Championship first grader division.

“I thank God and my wife Timmy for everything. I hope God will guide him in his way up and hopefully he will succeed,” said his humble father, Ren.

The annual party was well-attended by several distinguished guests which include Stephen Plotnick, President of Illinois Chess Association (ICA), Eric Ortega, VP (ICA) for Metro, Steven Yee, Chicago Ridge Mall Manager, and other chess enthusiasts who supported the organization throughout the year.

Chess Vets formerly known as Illinois Chess Vets is one of the most active chess organizations in Illinois helping thousands of US Veterans through chess and expanding its mission throughout the country with various chess community involvement, chess lessons, free tournaments and fund raising mainly to assist the Veterans.

Escalera is privileged to be part of their activities and considered to be their “in-house chess prodigy”. Scott is the most active dual rated player in Illinois with 175 rounds in just six months, and almost half of those tournaments were sponsored and under the supervision of Chess Vets.