5minutes with the youngest gm

5minutes with the youngest gm

| 4 | Chess Players

You might remember Wesley So as a Promil kid a couple of years back, but now he’s more known as one of Philippine chess’s rising stars. Last year, at the tender age of 12 years, he became the youngest-ever Pinoy to get the rank of International Master (IM). We caught up with him last June, right after he bagged first place in the Shell Battle of Champions, which he won in a tense, sudden-death game against fellow IM Oliver Dimakiling.

K-ZONE: So, when did you start playing chess?
WESLEY: Mga seven years old po. Sa bahay lang po [ako natuto]. Bumili po [kami] ng mga chess books, tapos sinalihan ko po yung first tournament ko, yung Shell National Youth Active Chess Championship.

KZ: How do you train as a chess player?
W: Pag may pasok po, naglalaro po ako mga four to five hours, practice ko po sa mga libro at mga computer. Tsaka kailangan rin po ng physical exercise, kaya naglalakad po [ako] mga one-and-a-half hours per day.

KZ: What’s your favorite opening?
W: Pag white po ako, e4 po talaga ang opening ko. [e4 means you move the pawn in front of your King -- the King's Pawn -- two spaces forward. - KZ] Pag black naman po, Sicilian, o kaya King’s Indian o Queen’s Indian. [The Sicilian Defense counters an e4 opening by moving your Queen's Bishop's pawn two spaces forward. The King and Queen's Indian defenses are more complicated to explain, but essentially mean countering a Queen's Pawn opening by activating your Knight.] Dun po sa opening, marami talagang pag-aaralan. Very complex ang game.

KZ: So how’d you beat Oliver?
W: Nasa time trouble na kasi siya nun. Siguro less than one minute na kami nun, di na namin nakikita yung mga panalo. Pero kung nagpilit siya magpanalo, magiging two pawns up ako sa endgame, lalo na po siya matatalo.

KZ: Okay, Wesley! Congratulations again on your win!

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