American, but proud Pinoy | Inquirer Sports

American, but proud Pinoy

/ 12:00 AM April 16, 2017

FILE - Grandmaster Wesley So with coach Susan Polgar after winning his seventh round game in the Millionaire Open in Las Vegas. So gains a seat in the semifinals and moves up to No.10 in the world, his highest ever. PHOTO BY PAUL TRUONG

FILE – Grandmaster Wesley So with coach Susan Polgar after winning his seventh round game in the Millionaire Open in Las Vegas. So gains a seat in the semifinals and moves up to No.10 in the world, his highest ever. PHOTO BY PAUL TRUONG

Philippine-born Grandmaster Wesley So admittedly experiences a chronic identity crisis whenever he vies in the world’s toughest chess tournaments.

So now represents the United States four years after deciding to leave the Philippines over an incentives dispute with the country’s sports leaders.

The board virtuoso from Bacoor, Cavite, has surged to become the world’s second-ranked player with an Elo of 2815.4, next only to world champion Magnus Carlsen (Elo 2836) of Norway.

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“I’m proud to be a Filipino,” said the 23-year-old after besting Carlsen and 12 other super GMs to rule the 2017 Tata Steel Masters, reputedly the world’s strongest event, in January.

Only last Monday, the deeply religious So wore a two-toned barong tagalog when he received the champion’s trophy and a check for $50,000 after his victory over GM Alexander Onischuk in the US Open in St. Louis.

“I’m honored to play under the US flag but Filipino blood still flows in my veins,” So told washingtontimes.com in an interview following his well-applauded triumph. —TED S. MELENDRES

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TAGS: Chess, Wesley So

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