Wesley So

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Wesley So
Full name Wesley Barbasa So
Country Philippines
Born (1993-10-09) October 9, 1993 (age 20)
Bacoor, Cavite, Philippines
Title Grandmaster (2008)
FIDE rating 2755 (September 2014) (No. 12 in the FIDE World Rankings)
Peak rating 2755 (August 2014)
Peak ranking No. 12 (August 2014)

Wesley So (born October 9, 1993) is an Filipino chess grandmaster. So achieved the GM title at the age of 14 years, 1 month and 28 days, making him the 8th youngest chess grandmaster in history.[1] Before becoming a grandmaster, So had become the youngest Filipino International Master at the age of 12 years and 10 months. He won the 2009 Corus chess tournament in the Grandmaster C group.

[2] In October 2008, So was rated 2610 and thus became the youngest player ever in the history of the game to break the 2600 Elo barrier, breaking the record previously held by Magnus Carlsen.[3] (His record was subsequently broken by Wei Yi.)[4] In January 2009, he achieved a rating of 2627, a Philippine national record, surpassing the Elo 2621 rating of GM Mark Paragua achieved in April 2006.

In February 2013, So breached the 2700 mark rating with an Elo rating of 2701. He arrived at this milestone by winning the Reykjavik Open. He was the 10th youngest to achieve the feat at the age of 19 years 4 months and 20 days.

In August 2014, he achieved an Elo rating high of 2755, placing him 12th in the world rankings.

Early life[edit]

So was born in Bacoor, Cavite in 1993 to William and Eleanor So, who are both accountants. He was aged 6 when his father taught him to play chess and was 9 when he started to compete in junior active chess tournaments, where his aggressive and tactical style of play caught the attention of former Philippine chess champion, International Master Rodolfo Tan Cardoso. Cardoso said, "The young lad ... would sacrifice a queen or any other pieces in his arsenal to get a winning attack." Also according to Cardoso, So did not have the full sponsorships enjoyed by the other chess prodigies, saying "He cannot afford decent training given by well known GM-coaches and has to rely on his pure talent, diligence and, of course, the Fritz programs before competing." So formerly attended the Jesus Good Shepherd School and went on to St. Francis of Assisi College in Bacoor.[5]

In August 2012, So began his full-time study at Webster University[6] in St. Louis under the SPICE program,[7] which was founded by former women's world champion Susan Polgar. So is of Chinese Filipino descent.

Due to disregard by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines, the current governing Philippine chess organization, it is reported that So is seeking a transfer to the United States Chess Federation after an obligatory wait of two years.[8]

Chess career[edit]

So claims his first major tournament win was taking 1st place at the 2003 Philippine National Chess Championships for the under 10 age group.[9]

In 2006, So became the youngest member of the national men's team to participate at the 37th Chess Olympiad in Turin, Italy at the age of 12. In December of the same year, he also became the youngest National Open Chess Champion. In May 2007, he went on to become the youngest National Junior Open Chess Champion. So won the gold medal on board one at the 2007 World Under 16 Team Championship with a score of 9½/10.

He achieved his third and final Grandmaster norm on December 8, 2007 at the third Pichay Cup International Open (Manila, Philippines), thus becoming the youngest Filipino grandmaster at the age of 14.[10] He also became the seventh youngest to achieve the Grandmaster title in the history of chess, edging out French GM Étienne Bacrot from that spot by a few days. So got his first GM norm in the Offene Internationale Bayerische Schach Meisterschaft in Bad Wiessee, Germany and his second GM norm in the 2007 U-20 World Junior Chess Championship in Yerevan, Armenia. Since December 2007, So has been considered to be the world's youngest grandmaster at the age of 14.

On April 16, 2008, So won the title in the $45,000 Dubai Open Chess Championships, "The Sheikh Rashed Bin Hamdan Al Maktoum Cup", at the Dubai Chess Club, Dubai, United Arab Emirates and setting a record as the youngest winner in the 10-year history of the Cup. He finished with 7 points on six wins, one loss and two draws after nine games. He won one-fourth ($4,500) of the combined prize of $18,000.[11][12] So also placed third at the sidelight Blitz Tournament of the Dubai Open Chess Championships held during the rest day of the main open tournament.

The Philippines' top gun then proceeded to Jakarta, Indonesia where he battled Indonesia's Number 1 GM Susanto Megaranto 4-2 (three wins, two draws and one loss) in a six-game match on the occasion of the JAPFA Chess Festival.[13]

On May 5, 2008, So won the top prize of P 200,000, in the "Battle of GMs" chess competition by notching 8½ points, on six wins and five draws, at the Citystate Hotel, Manila. One point ahead of second placer Eugenio Torre and Richard Bitoon, So agreed to split the point with three-time national junior champion Jon Paul Gomez in 30 moves of the French Defence.[14]

On the January 2009 FIDE rating list, So's Elo rating was 2627, making him the highest ranked chess player in the Philippines ahead of other notable Filipino grandmasters such as Mark Paragua, Rogelio Antonio, Jr. and Eugenio Torre (who is second with 2560 Elo rating). He was rated the world's strongest chess player for his age level (players born in 1993 and later) with an Elo rating of 2627 ahead of Chinese GM Hou Yifan (born 1994, Elo 2557) and Russian GM Sanan Sjugirov (born 1993, Elo 2545). The latest ratings put So on the 9th spot of the world top 20 juniors list. He won the Corus Group C 2009 championship besting his nearest rival by one point.

So won the Top Junior Prize during Aeroflot 2009, with 5/9. His wins included one against then-IM Tatiana Kosintseva, who won the tournament's Top Woman Prize.

So won a seat in the World Cup by placing second during Zone 3.3 Chess Championship which was held on July 23–29, 2009 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

In November–December at the 2009 Chess World Cup he defeated Gadir Guseinov and scored victories over former world championship contenders Vassily Ivanchuk (Elo 2739) and Gata Kamsky (Elo 2695) before being knocked out by Vladimir Malakhov in round 4.

In July 2011 he won the Philippine Chess Championship.[15]

In February 2013, So was in a 3 way tie for 1st place with Pavel Eljanov & Bassem Amin in Reykjavik Open which was held in Reykjavik, Iceland. In doing so he reached his goal and breached the 2700 mark rating with an elo rating of 2701.

So won a gold medal for the Philippines at the 2013 Summer Universiade in Kazan, Russia. It was the first gold medal for the country in the history of the tournament.[16]

On January 28, 2014, So finished in a tie for 4th–6th places at the 2014 Tata Steel Chess Tournament, finishing 6th according to the tiebreak rules. He registered three victories, two losses and six draws, finishing with six points out of 11 games.[17]

On May 18, 2014, So won the 49th Capablanca Memorial tournament in Havana at his first attempt. He finished a point clear of second placed Lazaro Bruzon, followed by Leinier Dominguez Perez, Zoltan Almasi, Francisco Vallejo Pons and Vassily Ivanchuk. This was a very strong category 19 event with an all grandmaster field.[18]

On July 20, 2014, he won the ACP Golden Classic tournament in Bergamo, Italy with a score of 4.5/6 and a performance rating of 2844.


Date Tournament Location Place Score Notes
July 2014 ACP Golden Classic Tournament 2014 Bergamo, Italy 1st 6 1st Place, with a Performance Rating of 2844
May 2014 Capablanca Memorial 2014 Havana, Cuba 1st 10 Solo Champion, Undefeated with TPR 2829
October 2013 17th Unive Chess Tournament 2013 Hoogeveen, The Netherlands 1st 6 Hoogeveen Crown Group
August 2013 World University Championship 2013 Russia, Kazan 1st 9 tied for first with Andriasian Zaven, ahead of GMs Li Chao, Evgeny Alekseev and Dmitry Andreikin
June 2013 2013 Las Vegas International Chess Festival 2013 Las Vegas, USA 1st 7 8 Also won the G/10 Championship and the G/5 Blitz Championship. A Triple Crown!
May 2013 Calgary International Chess Classic 2013 Calgary, Canada 1st 8 8 Winning two chess championships (Standard & Blitz)
February 2013 Reykjavik Open 2013 Reykjavík, Iceland 1st 8 10 3-way tie for first with Pavel Eljanov and Amin Baseem
February 2011 Aeroflot Open 2011 Moscow, Russia N/A 6 Withdrew after sixth round.
January 2010 Corus Group B Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands 4th 13
November 2009 2009 Chess World Cup Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia 4th round
September (November) 2009 2009 SPICE Cup International Chess Tournament Texas, USA 6th 10
May 2009 Asian Chess Championship Subic, Philippines 21st 11
February 2009 Aeroflot Open 2009[19] Moscow, Russia 1st - Junior 5 9 Grabbed the Top Junior Prize. His wins included one against IM Tatiana Kosintseva, who won the tournament's Top Woman Prize.[20][21]
January 2009 71st Corus Chess Tournament[22] Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands 1st 13 Award: 1st Place in Group C[23]
December 2008 First Asian Club Cup[24] Al Ain, UAE 1st - Board 1 / Team - 4th 7 Award: So won the 1st Board Prize (ahead of Sergey Karjakin); Tagaytay Chess Club players: Wesley So (Board 1), John Paul Gomez (Board 2), Mark Paragua (Board 3), & Darwin Laylo (Board 4)
November 2008 38th Chess Olympiad Dresden, Germany 7 10 Players: Wesley So (Board 2), Buenaventura Villamayor, Jayson Gonzales, Paul John Gomez, Darwin Laylo; Captain: Eugene Torre; So played 10 games - 4 Wins and 6 Draws
July 2008 2008 World Chess Olympiad Qualifier Mandaluyong, Philippines 2nd 12½ 17
May 2008 1st Subic Bay International Open Chess Championship Subic, Philippines 2nd 9
May 2008 2nd Philippine Open International Chess Tournament[25] Subic, Philippines 10th / 73 11
Apr/May 2008 2008 Philippine "Battle of Grandmasters"[26] Manila, Philippines 1 11
Apr 2008 2008 Japfa Chess Festival 2008 vs GM Susanto Megaranto of Indonesia Jakarta, Indonesia 1 4 6 Six games Fide rated one-on-one duel
Apr 2008 2008 Dubai Open Blitz Tournament Dubai, UAE 3 7 9
Apr 2008 10th Dubai Open Chess Championship[27] Dubai, UAE 1st 7 9 The championship ended in a four way tie, and So clinched the championship title on superior technical counts.
Mar 2008 Mayor Allen Singson Open Chess Tourney[28] Candon City, Philippines 1 6 7
Jan 2008 "GM Tournament A" ASEAN Masters Chess Circuit Tarakan, Indonesia 4
Dec 2007 Fianchetto Realty/Gold Edge Assets Christmas Invitational Tournament Prince Gregory Condominium, Cubao, Quezon City 1 (GM-IM blitz category)
Dec 2007 2007 Pichay Cup International Chess Tournament Earned his final GM norm, became the 7th youngest grandmaster in world history and the youngest ever Filipino grandmaster.[29][30]
Nov 2007 2007 GMA Cup International Chess Tournament 6th / 64
Oct 2007 World Junior Chess Championship Earned his 2nd GM norm
18-20 Jun 2007 Shell Battle of Champions, 15th Anniversary SM Megamall, Philippines 1
06-9 May 2007 National Juniors Open Chess Championship Marketplace, Kalentong 1
25-31 Dec 2006 3rd Singapore Masters International Open Singapore Tied for 4th place Rank 14 (99 players)
Dec 2006 National Open Chess Championship Manila, Philippines 1
2006 Nov 17-23 1st President GMA Cup International Chess Tournament Parañaque, Philippines Tied for 6th place Award: Top Juniors, 3rd
2006 Nov 04-12 Offene Internationale Bayerische Schaha Meisterschaft Bad Wiessee, Germany Tied for 2nd place Award: Earned first GM norm. Creativity Award: chosen by Russian website e3e5.
2006 Oct 20-28 III Festival de Ajedrez Open Internacionale Calvià, Spain Award: Best Under-16, Blitz.
2006 Oct 08 Title awarded by FIDE: International Master
2006 Aug 20-28 3rd IGB Dato Arthur Tan Malaysia Open Chess Championship Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Award: Best Under 16 player. Earned 3rd IM norm.
2006 Jun 05-11 2nd San Marino Open Internationale de Scacchi San Marino Republic Award: Best Under 16 player. Earned 2nd IM norm.
2006 May20-Jun04 37th Chess Olympiad Torino, Italy Youngest RP Olympian.
2006 Apr22-May02 8th Dubai Open Chess Championship, Sheikh Rashid Bin Hamadan Ak Maktoum Cup Dubai, UAE Earned 1st IM norm.
2005 Dec 26-30 Masters/Challengers Intl Open Singapore 32nd individual Award: Best Under 12 player.
2005 Aug 01-06 Nice Open International Nice, France 9th
2005 Jul 18-29 World Youth Chess Championship Belfort, France Equal first
2005 June 14–20 7th Asean Age-Group Chess Championship Pattaya, Thailand Individual Awards: Gold Medalist, Standard Chess; Gold Medalist, Rapid Chess; Gold Medalist, Blitz Chess.
2004 Dec 01-08 World Youth Chess Championship Crete, Greece 13th
2004 Sep 02-12 6th Asean Age-Group Chess Championship Vung Tau, Vietnam Individual Awards: Gold Medalist, Standard Chess; Gold Medalist, Rapid Chess.

Team Awards: Silver Medalist, Standard Chess, Silver Medalist Rapid Chess.

2003 Nov 03-10 World Youth Chess Championship Heraklio, Greece 19th


  1. ^ GmaNews.Tv, So is now RP's youngest GM, world's 7th youngest
  2. ^ FIDE Online. FIDE Top players - Top 100 Players January 2014
  3. ^ von Kietz, Michael (12 February 2013). "Carlsen's Conquests – at 22 he has broken all records". ChessBase News. Retrieved 2 March 2013. 
  4. ^ Wei Yi – youngest 2600+ GM ever | Chess News
  5. ^ Luarca, Roy (2008-04-16). "Brilliant Wesley So tops tough Dubai Open - INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos". Inquirer.net. Philippine Daily Inquirer. Archived from the original on 2008-05-06. Retrieved 2008-05-14. "So, an incoming junior at St. Francis of Assisi College -Bacoor, swept his first five foes..." 
  6. ^ Susan Polgar Chess Daily News and Information: Wesley So arriving at Webster University
  7. ^ Index | Webster University
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ Interview with Wesley So
  10. ^ So newest, youngest GM from Manila Standard Today
  11. ^ manilastandardtoday.com, So wins Dubai Open, $4.5k
  12. ^ gulfnews.com, World's youngest GM So wins Dubai Open
  13. ^ The chess games of Wesley So
  14. ^ ABS-CBN Interactive, So wins ‘Battle of GMs’ title
  15. ^ "Wesley So Wins Philippines National Chess Championship". Chessdom. Retrieved 27 July 2011. 
  16. ^ So bags first-ever PH gold in Universiade | Inquirer Sports
  17. ^ http://philboxing.com/news/story-91479.html
  18. ^ "Wesley So with 2826 performance in Cuba". ChessBase. 
  19. ^ Aeroflot Open 2009
  20. ^ Grabbed the Top Junior Prize
  21. ^ Aeroflot Festival 2009 Tournament A1
  22. ^ 71st Corus Chess Tournament
  23. ^ GM Wesley So Wins 2009 Corus C
  24. ^ First Asian Club Cup
  25. ^ 2nd Philippine Open International Chess Tournament
  26. ^ Clash of Philippines' best chess players
  27. ^ 10th Dubai Open Chess Championship
  28. ^ GM Wesley So to join and hold simul games - Allen Singson Chess
  29. ^ World's Youngest GM – GM Wesley So, age 14
  30. ^ Chess prodigies and mini-grandmasters


Gameknot link:

External links[edit]