Filipino chess grandmaster (GM) Wesley So bagged the $100,000 grand prize for winning the first Millionaire Chess Open championships at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas that took place October 9-13.
Wesley So secured the championship by playing aggressively to beat his Webster University teammate and one of his best buddies United States GM Ray Robson, 1.5-0.5, in the final round.
Ray Robson was the first to qualify for the final round after defeating Olympiad double Gold medalist Yu Yangi. Wesley So, on the other hand, beat GM Zhou Jianchao of China, 3-1, to earn the other spot in the final.
Robson and So drew their first game. Wesley won the second game to clinch the championship and bagged the $100,000 first prize, the biggest so far, in the history of chess open tournaments.
Robson went home with $50,000.
It was the third impressive win this year for Wesley So, who still carried the Philippine flag despite a quarrel with National Chess Federation of the Philippines president Butch Pichay, Jr. over So’s request to transfer to the United States chess federation.
So won the prestigious Capablanca Memorial Tournament in Havana, Cuba, last May, and topped the ACP Golden Classic last July in Bergamo, Italy.
The 21-year-old Filipino GM has now a live rating of 2762 that put him in the top 10 highest rated chess players in the world. This is, so far, the highest a Filipino chess player has ever achieved.
So said he looks forward to participating in many more Millionaire Chess open tournaments for years to come.
As he was presented the first prize cash award, Wesley humbly said, “I knew this would be a very tough tournament to win, having so much talent here, which makes this win so amazing.”