July 9, 2014
Written by Ed Andaya

In an obvious change of heart, the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) is now willing to give GM Wesley So the go-signal to transfer to the United States Chess Federation (USCF).

This was confirmed by So himself following a 30-minute long conversation with NCFP president Prospero “Butch” Pichay during which he wished the 20-year-old Filipino champion well.

“I just had a very good conversation with Mr. Pichay and the situation regarding my transfer request is encouraging,” said So during an interview with Chessdom.

“He (Pichay) said that he is not upset with me at all, and he only wishes the best for my chess career. He has no objection with me transferring federation to the US,”added So, who is scheduled to leave Missouri, USA on Thursday to compete in the ACP Golden Classic in Bergamo, Italy.

There’s still one hitch, however.

Pichay told So that “he is not in the position to sign the consent for the release without the approval from the PSC (Philippines Sports Commission).”

“The PSC is the organization which funds the NCFP and they have the overall final authority. My understanding is if the PSC consents, Pichay will also consent and it will be final. So it is now up to the PSC to decide. The ball is on their court and the clock is ticking,” explained So.

The second year business and finance student of Webster University expressed confidence that the PSC, headed by Chairman Richie Garcia, will pose no objection.

“They have nothing to gain by not signing the consent form. They also cannot stop me from making the transfer. The only thing they can do is make me wait for approximately another full year. This would certainly harm my chess development because I have to sit out on all official FIDE tournaments, including the world championship cycle, and various important invitations,” explained So.

Pichay’s assurance to So is expected to finally pave the way for a smooth transfer to the USCF.

Close friends-supporters of So said Ramirez and the PSC will certainly not stand in the way of the Filipino player’s development, especially since the transfer to the USCF is expected to help push his career forward.

“In fact, Garcia and the PSC appears to be very supportive to So when he brought home the gold medal in the 27th Summer Universiade in Kazan, Russia last year. The PSC had no objection in releasing the cash incentive to So if there was an endorsement letter from the NCFP,” said the source.

The refusal of the Phlippine Olympic Committee (POC) and the NCFP to recognize So’s gold-medal achievement was one of the reasons given for So’s decision to switch federations.


Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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