Chess Grandmaster (GM) Wesley has once again displayed his dominance after bagging the 2021 U.S. Chess Championship title on Oct. 20 at the Saint Louis Chess Club in Missouri.
The win serves as So’s third U.S. Chess Championship win and his second year in a row as the champion.
So was up against fellow grandmasters Fabiano Caruana and Sam Sevian in an intense rapid playoff to determine the winner.
“I thought the tournament was pretty much over by yesterday, Fabiano almost won three games in a row. It just gave me a new breath of life that the tournament was not yet over, that I might still have some chances,” So shared with worldchess.com after the match.
“I just wanted to play fast today and make some good moves. Fabi plays for a win with both colors, soon I found myself in a very difficult position. Probably, in the endgame, he missed a win somewhere.”
“I was playing with no pressure: I did not expect this playoff, so I was just playing chess. If chances come, good, if I lose, that’s fine.”
Congratulations to the 2021 U.S. Chess Champion, Wesley So!— Chess.com (@chesscom) October 19, 2021
So brought home $50,000 (P2.5M) for the first-place win. He stands as the 5th highest-rated chess player in the world following Magnus Carlsen, Garry Kasparov, Fabiano Caruana, and Levon Aronian.
The Cavite-born GM started playing the game when he was only six and bagged several awards for the Philippines at a young age, but promptly stopped representing the country and joined Team USA in 2014. The 28-year-old became a U.S. citizen in February of 2021.