Sunday, April 26, 2009

Aklan Governor Carlito Marquez

Aklan Governor Carlito Marquez welcomes the chess participants at the Gov. Corazon L. Cabagnot Tourism Center in Old Buswang, Kalibo, Aklan. Grandmaster Jayson Gonzales, NCFP executive director Willie Abalos, Aklan Rep. Florencio Miraflores and NCFP president Prospero Pichay listen to him / PHOTO BY BOY RYAN ZABAL

Prospero Pichay

The search for the future chess grandmaster continues.

National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) president Prospero 'Butch' Pichay, Jr. opened the first-ever National Age Group Championships in the province of Aklan today at the Gov. Corazon L. Cabagnot Tourism Training Center here.
Pichay said this tough and high-caliber competition in Aklan will expose the future grandmasters in the game of chess with the best players in the country.
"Naniniwala ako na ang mga Filipinos ay isa sa mga pinakamagaling na chess players sa buong mundo. Pag marami ang chess tournaments sa juniors, we could produce another Wesley So (I believe that Filipinos are among the best chess players in the world. If there are many junior chess tournaments, we could produce another Wesley So)," he said.
The national juniors tournament, which is open to players 20 years old and below, will be on April 24 to 28 and the third Asian Indoor Games regional eliminations for Region VI, which is open to non-masters, on April 18 to 20.
The chess tournaments officially kicked off with Aklan Governor Carlito Marquez, Aklan Rep. Florencio Miraflores, Provincial Administrator Atty. Diego Luces, NCFP executive director Willie Abalos and Grandmaster Jayson Gonzales in attendance during the opening ceremony.
Pichay also thanked the provincial government of Aklan led by Marquez and Miraflores for hosting and supporting the NCFP chess tournaments this year. Aside from trophies and prizes, the champions will earn slots in the Philippine Team to the 2009 World Juniors Chess Championship in Mar del Plata, Argentina on October 16 to 29, 2009.
NCFP chief arbiter and National Master Wilfredo Neri said the five-day age group tourney until April 22 is divided into six categories: Under-18, Under-16, Under-14, Under-12, Under-10 and Under-8.
Pichay said the champions in the age group tournament would don the country's colors in the 10th ASEAN Age-Group Championships in Hue, Vietnam on June 11 to 20, 2009 and in the World Youth Championships in Condino, Italy from November 23 to 29, 2009.
Pichay said the federation would sponsor two national age groups tournaments this year as part of the program to develop caliber chess players and to send them in the international tournaments abroad. /PHOTO BY BOY RYAN ZABAL

Wesley So Chess career

n 2006, he 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. Wesley won the gold medal on board one at the 2007 World Under 16 Team Championship with a score of 9½/10.

Wesley So 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.[3] He also became the seventh youngest to achieve the Grandmaster title in the history of chess, edging out French GM Etienne 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, Wesley So has been considered to be the world's youngest Grandmaster at the age of fourteen.

On April 16, 2008, Wesley 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.[4][5] GM 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.[6]

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.[7]

On the January 2009 FIDE rating list, GM So's ELO rating is 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 is 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 strong-rising Russian GM Sanan Sjugirov(born 1993, ELO 2545). The latest ratings put Wesley So on the 9th spot of the world top 20 juniors list. He won and is currently the Corus Group C 2009 champion besting his nearest rival by 1 point.

Grabbed the Top Junior Prize during Aeroflot 2009. He scored a respectable 5 pts out of 9. His wins included one against IM Tatiana Kosintseva, who won the tournament's Top Woman Prize.

Wesley So Early life

So was born in Manila 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 IM 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."

Wesley formerly attended the Jesus Good Shepherd School and currently goes to school at St. Francis of Assisi College System in Bacoor, Cavite, a province south of Manila.[2]

Wesley So

PhotobucketWesley So (born October 9, 1993) is a Filipino GM-titled chess player. A chess prodigy, he achieved the GM title at the age of 14 years, 1 month and 28 days, making him the 7th youngest person to achieve the Grandmaster title in the history of chess.[1] Before becoming a Grandmaster, So had become the youngest Filipino International Master at the age of 12 years and 10 months. He is the recent winner of the prestigious 2009 Corus Chess Tournament for the Grandmaster C group.