FilAm Wesley So wins third 2021 US Chess Championship title

FILAM WESLEY SO in a file photo after winning the 3rd US Open Chess Championship title

SAINT LOUIS, Missouri – Philippine-born Wesley So flashed his old form as he ruled the 2021 US Chess Championships at the Saint Louis Chess Club in Missouri on October 20 (Manila time).
So, a full-blooded Filipino born in Cavite but is now an American citizen, edged Fabiano Caruana and Samuel Sevian who all shared first place but had to settle the championship during their rapid playoff clash.

So defeated Caruana in 46 moves using the black pieces, though Caruana stayed in the hunt when he beat Sevian in 49 moves in his next match.

So, who famously switched federations from the Philippines to the United States in 2014, needed only a draw against Sevian to win the title but was superb in beating the 20-year-old American GM in 33 moves.

“I just wanted to play fast today and make some good moves,” said So in an interview with “I was playing with no pressure.”

“I did not expect this playoff, so I was just playing chess. If chances come, good. If I lose, that’s fine,” So said.

The three GMs were tied with scores of 6.5 after 11 rounds of competition, triggering the playoff for the title.

It was the second-straight US Chess title and third overall for the 28-year-old grandmaster after ruling the event in 2017.

A jubilant So posted the news on his win in his Facebook page. He bagged a total of $50,000 for the championship prize while Caruana and Sevian, who are tied at second place, will take home $30,000 each.
Leinier Dominguez, Ray Robson, and Alex Lenderman shared fourth to sixth places and are set to each pocket a total of $15,000.
So earned his US citizenship only last February after transferring to the United States in 2012.
So posted his swearing in on his Facebook account on February 26 at the US Citizenship and Immigration Services offices in St. Paul Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Born in Bacoor City,  So also showed in a picture displaying his new citizenship papers with his left hand and holding a small US flag on the other, with the seal of the US Department of Homeland Security in the background. The other shot showed him being sworn in as an American citizen.
So has been living in Minnetonka, Minnesota with his adopted parents — former PBA player Renato “Bambi” Kabigting and former actress Lotis Key.
 “For a better future, because this is the land of opportunity,” said So then of his swearing in as US citizen.

“I love the fact that anyone can strive to succeed (in the US). You are not held back by your color, lack of connection and or the amount of money you have,” he explained.

“If you work hard, you have a better chance of making it here than anywhere else in the world. I came here ready to work hard, and it turned out just as I dreamed (it would be).” he said.
So became the youngest grandmaster of the Philippines at the age of 14 years old, one month and 28 days in securing his third GM Norm at the Prospero Pichay International Cup on December 8, 2007.