July 23, 2014
Written by Ed Andaya
Published in Other Sports

WITH only 10 days left before the 41st World Chess Olympiad in Tromso, Norway, GM Wesley So reiterated his wish to transfer to the United States Chess Federation (USCF) to pursue his lifelong dream of challenging for the world chess title.

In an open-letter to National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) president Prospero “Butch” Pichay, So asked for his immediate release to enable him to compete in all FIDE-rated tournaments in the coming months.

“I hope that Mr. Prospero Pichay will finally sign the letter by FIDE to let me change so I can continue to fight for the world title right away,” said the 20-year-old Filipino champion in a short but urgent message he posted on his widely-followed Facebook account

At the same time, So expressed his gratitude to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), headed by chairman Richei Garcia, which openly announced that it will not be a hindrance to So’s goal of reaching the top.

“The PSC already said it will pose no objections if the NCFP will finally decide to release me to the USCF and I am very thankful to Chairman Garcia for this announcement,” said So.

So also took note that Garcia even said that “the PSC is very happy when he ( So) said that he will always be a Filipino at heart regardless of what federation he will now represent.”

Earlier, Pichay told So in a telephone converation that “he is not against So’s request but that he is not in the position to sign the consent for the release without the approval from the PSC.

“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,” said So in an interview published at Chesdom.

Asked for comment, Garcia tossed the issue back to the NCFP.

“There is nothing on the table to act on Wesley (So),” said Garcia. “In fact, it is the NCFP, and not the PSC, which has the authority over So.”

Added Garcia: “The PSC will pose no objections if the NCFP will finally decide to release So to the USCF.”

Garcia also denied that the PSC threatened to stop the release of P15-M chess budget if the NCFP agree to release So.

The announcement of Garcia was welcomed in both the local and international chess community.

So’s coach-trainer, Susan Polgar, lauded Garcia for his decision.

“I’d like to thank Chairman Garcia in advance for caring & giving So a chance to reach his dreams, Polgar wrote in her twitter account.

“So can always switch back in the future when he reaches his goals. This is important,” added Polgar, who is widely credited for So’s meteoric rise from No. 98 in the world list two years ago to an all-time high of No. 12 early this week.

Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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