Wesley So, who at the age of 16 is the best rated player from Philippines and World’s 7th ranked junior, has kindly agreed to a brief email interview for Chessdom.com.
Chessdom: Hello Wesley, thank you for accepting the interview. After the brilliant win at the Corus Chess Tournament you were mainly focused on playing in Asia tournaments. How do you evaluate your performance in recent months?
Wesley So: As a whole, the recent results were not very good, especially in my last tournament in the Philippines. It is clear that I lack preparation and I have to find ways to improve.
Chessdom: What has got you attracted to chess, how did you start playing?
Wesley So: The educational aspect of chess attracts me. It is a learning experience: memory, pattern recognition, decision making and reinforcement. I started playing when I was six years old with my father. Then, later on, with my neighbours.
Wesley So, photo by Carla Amse
Chessdom: According to a recent article on Inquirer.net, chess is the most popular game in your country. Are you provided with support for coaching, travel and tournament invitations?
Wesley So: I don’t think chess is very popular in our country, but I have support from our federation, just sufficient for travel and tournament invitations.
Chessdom: You have many supporters in Philippines and across the globe. Does this affect your play or attitude? Is it helping your motivation?
Wesley So: Yes, of course. It is always nice to know many people are watching my game, and probably inspires me to play better. But during my tournament, I do not want to think about this.
Chessdom: Who are you working with and how do you prepare for competitions?
Wesley So: I am working by myself right now, or you can say with the computers, which is very useful nowadays. I prepare for the competitions by studying some openings and some of my games.
Chessdom: What are your expectations from the first participation in SPICE Cup?
Wesley So: I am not really sure. It will be my first double-round robin tournament, so I do not know what to expect. I will try to play well there.
Chessdom: What is your tournament schedule in the following months?
Wesley So: Most likely it will be SPICE CUP, and probably a few games in Chinese League (see attached newspaper from China, I was invited twice already). World Juniors also.
Chessdom: When you don’t play chess, what are your favourite leisure activities?
Wesley So: At present, the usual activities are surfing the net, reading some books and exercising in my treadmill. I don’t usually like going outdoors.
Chessdom: Can you single out your most memorable game?
Wesley So: My game against Ni Hua in Olympiad which was my first win against a 2700 player.
Chessdom: Thank you for your time. We wish you all the best in your future career.
Wesley So: Thank you too.