Wesley So won the 2021 Paris Rapid & Blitz tournament on Tuesday, a performance described as “scintillating” by tournament observers.
So, who left the Philippines to represent the United States in international competition, copped an aggregate 24.5 points — 12.0 on rapid and 12.5 on blitz — to stave off Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi’s (21.5 points) challenge with one more round to go.
“What a scintillating performance by the American player,” GrandChessTour.org reported on its website.
“Wesley So didn’t simply win the tournament. (He) remained completely unbreakable.
“Aggressive positions, slow positions, endgames, openings. It didn’t matter what type of position appeared on the board. So was able to masterfully play it and win.”
Including the Bucharest leg of the Grand Chess Tour, So has lot only once in 36 matches.
The next stop on the Grand Chess Tour is the Croatia Grand Chess Tour Rapid & Blitz on July 5 to 12 in Zagreb.
The 2021 Grand Chess Tour will feature 2 classical and three rapid & blitz events. The 2020 edition was cancelled.
The Tour prize fund on offer is at $1.275 million, including $325,000 per classical tournament and $150,000 in prizes for rapid & blitz events.
A bonus prize totaling $175,000 will go to the top 3 overall Tour finishers.
So, born in Bacoor city, Cavite, was sworn in as an American citizen on February 26, completing his naturalization.
The 27-year-old said he changed citizenship “for a better future, because this is the land of opportunity,” referring to the US.
Notwithstanding his allegiance to his new country, So said he cherished the land of his birth, saying: “That doesn’t mean that I don’t love the Philippines. I have good memories from there. But I did not have the connections I needed in that culture.
“I was from the province, not a city boy. Had no money, etc. I wanted to go further, and there is only one country that a nobody could make it. The USA.”