Wesley So is a Filipino-born American chess grandmaster who became the 11th player to pass the 2800 Elo rating in January 2017.
He was born on October 9, 1993, in Bacoor, Cavite, Philippines, as Wesley Barbasa So.
So has two sisters, Wendelle Barbasa So and Wilma Barbasa So.
Wesley learned chess at the age of 7 on the streets of Cavite.
”A lot of people played on every corner of the neighborhood I lived in,” Wesley told Chess in April 2019. He added: ”You see, chess is very popular in the Philippines because, in third-world countries, chess is the poor man’s game.”
At age 8, Wesley began taking part in local youth chess tournaments. ”It was weekend rapid tournaments,” So said in an interview. ”I won my first big event when I was 10 – when I won our National Age Group Under 10.”
At age 12, So reached the rank of International Master.
In May 2007, Wesley became National Junior Chess Champion.
Wesley became a grandmaster at 14 years, one month, and 28 days old.
In 2008, he won the title in the Dubai Open Chess Championships.
In 2009, So won the C-Tournament in Wijk aan Zee.
In 2012, Wesley moved to the US as a freshman recruit for Webster University.
In 2013, he won gold at the Summer Universiade in Kazan.
In 2014, Bambi Kabigting and Lotis Key took So into their family.
Lotis is a former Filipino-American film and theater actress. She first met So in 2013 while attending a private dinner. Key currently serves as his manager.
”I handle all the logistics of holding an elite player’s life together,” Lotis said in 2020. ”You would not believe how much effort that takes.”
At the 2014 Tata Steel Chess Tournament Group A, Wesley tied for 4th place with Leinier Dominguez and Fabiano Caruana.
In October 2014, Wesley won the inaugural Millionaire Open in Las Vegas. The tournament welcomed 550 players from 44 countries.
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In January 2015, So finished second at Wijk aan Zee, the 77th Tata Steel Chess Tournament. In the same year, Wesley won the Bilbao Chess Masters.
In 2016, So was part of the American team that won the Gold Medal at the Baku Chess Olympiad. Also in 2016, he won the Sinquefield Cup.
In 2017, he won the 79th Tata Steel Chess Tournament in a final against Fabiano Caruana.
In April 2017, Wesley won the US Chess Championship by defeating Ukrainian-American chess player Alexander Onischuk. The prize fund was $194,000.
In 2017, So became world number-two behind Magnus Carlsen and achieved a FIDE rating of 2822.
In 2019, Wesley became the Fischer Random World Champion in a match vs. Carlsen with a score of 13.5–2.5. Wesley won the semifinal match against Russian chess grandmaster Ian Nepomniachtchi.
In September 2020, he lost the final of the Chess24 Banter Series Finals to Magnus Carlsen.
In October 2020, So won the US Chess Championship for the second time.
On February 14, 2021, he won the Opera Euro Rapid in a final against Carlsen.
On February 26, 2021, So got his American citizenship. ”I came here ready to work hard, and it turned out just as I dreamed,” Wesley declared. ”That does not mean I don’t love the Philippines.”
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”The main thing both for beginners and professionals is the desire to play.”
”Chess is a sport, and like other elite sports, your efforts can go up and down for all sorts of reasons.”
From July 2016 to April 2017, Wesley had an undefeated streak of 67 games. He lost to Azerbaijani chess grandmaster Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.
Wesley So – Net Worth
So earned most of his wealth from participating in chess tournaments.
He received $100k for winning the inaugural Millionaire Chess Open (scoring 8½/13). In 2020, Wesley received $40k for winning the 2020 US Chess Championships. In November 2020, So received $30k for winning the Skilling Open championship.
In 2020, So won over $246k from the tournaments he participated in.
Therefore, chess grandmaster Wesley So has an estimated net worth of $1 million.
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