I just received welcome news that 18-year-old Filipino chess grandmaster Wesley So added to his collection of chess titles with his recent victory at the Crown Section of the 2012 Toronto International Chess Championship.
The Crown Section, hosted by Chess Institute of Canada was participated in by 18 rated players (three GMs, five IMs and two FMs) from four countries (Canada, Lithuania, Israel and Philippines).
So is barnstorming Canada and will next participate in the Quebec Open Chess Championship 2012 at Brebeuf College in Montreal, Canada. So finished with a total of six points through five wins and two draws.
Although still a teenager, So is already the highest-rated player in Philippine history. His potential is virtually unlimited and he will have the opportunity to reach heights never before reached by any Filipino chess player with his stay at the Webster University, St. Louis which has always had a reputation as a world-class chess center.
In addition, Webster University is now home to World and Olympiad Champion chess Grandmaster Susan Polgar’s chess program the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE).
Webster University President Elizabeth Strobe was reported to have said that chess is seen not just as a game but as an instructional tool.
“Globally, educators recognize chess as a tool to cultivate interest and success in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) disciplines. At Webster, SPICE and Susan Polgar will be leaders in promoting chess as a vehicle for global diversity and academic excellence, for enriching the education of children and for promoting women’s chess,” said Strobe in a published report.
With So in the Webster University team are grandmasters Georg Meier of Germany, Ray Robson of the USA, Manuel Leon Hoyos of Mexico, Fidel Corrales Jimenez of Cuba, Anatoly Bykhovsky of Israel, Andre Diamant of Brazil and Denes Boros of Hungary.
They are all students at Webster University giving So an enriching competitive environment that should propel him to heights never achieved by an Filipino chess player.
So, who has displayed more potential than any Filipino chess player in history, will also benefit from more training and opportunities than any other Filipino chess player. It may be too early to talk world chess champion, but you never can tell.