So American

Lipa City, Batangas
July 5, 2014
So American

So it’s official.
Recently, we were floored by two rainmakers straight from the horse’s mouth, which on this case is Wesley So’s Webster U coach Susan Polgar. The first one was when So declined to play top board for the Phl team in the 41st World Chess Olympiad set from Aug. 1-15 in Tromso, Norway. The second, and most devastating of all, was when he re-iterated his earlier decision to coach the United States chess team instead.
Here’s Polgar statement she posted on her site


“Update: Wesley just received an email today, July 3, 2014, from the NCFP Secretariat about the upcoming Chess Olympiad, with the attachment of an official communication letter from Chairman Pichay to PSC Chairman Garcia on the official team composition of players and coaches of the Philippines in the upcoming Chess Olympiad (which includes Wesley, Oliver Barbosa, Julio Saddora, Eugenio Torre, and John Paul Gomez). This is more than a month after the submission deadline for the Tromsø Chess Olympiad.
Wesley immediately responded to Chairman Pichay restating that he did make 2 requests to transfer federation (last November and again a little more than a month ago). He officially declined his official invitation today (July 3, 2014), the same day he received the email, and reaffirmed to Chairman Pichay his duty as coach of the US team after he failed to hear anything from the NCFP after the June 1, 2014 deadline to submit a roster for the Chess Olympiad.
In the same email, Wesley also made the third request to Chairman Pichay for consent to immediately switch federation to the US. It is now up to Chairman Pichay and the NCFP to decide what course of action to take.”

And then Phl sports, not just chess, suffered a double blackeye.
Without So, the Phl team will have to make do with a line-up consisting of GMs Oliver Barbosa, Julio Catalino Sadorra, John Paul Gomez, Eugene Torre and newly-minted 16-year-old International Master Paulo Bersamina, who will fill the void left by So, according to NCFP executive director and the Phl’s non-playing captain GM Jayson Gonzales. Bersamina will make the team on the strength of his third place finish in the Battle of GMs behind the vintage Torre and Gomez. For those of you who don’t know Bersamina, he recently achieved IM status with a strong effort in Macau. It’s a classic case of replacing the past, who is So, with perhaps the future, who in this case is Bersamina. With the proper training and funding, this teen phenom could turn out to be So…with a prayer that he will not do a So.
As Sportsmaryosep had already chronicled, So claimed he has filed the documents of his transfer to the US chess federation as early as last year and he hasked the NCFP for a release, which as of this writing has fallen on deaf ears. But a chess expert whispered to me that there is still no official letter from FIDE, or the international chess federation, of such transfer. He told me Polgar could be fooling us all. Like for example, Polgar said one of the reasons So declined to play for his homeland is that the June 1 deadline for submission of Olympiad entries had lapsed. NCFP though blied this by saying it has already submitted its roster with So’s name in it even before the deadline had passed. Here’s what our source told The Philippine STAR, and Sportsmaryosep: “She is fooling us all. Truth is, Wesley So has no application for transfer in the FIDE website. NCFP has also no letter from Wesley. The letter that Polgar released has no date.”
Sportsmaryosep’s prognosis: Whatever hidden motive Polgar and Wesley have, we don’t really care. But the damage has been done. No matter how many sugar-coating you put as your reasons for switching federations, it is still a form of betrayal to flag and country. Granted that you were maltreated by our officials due to politics by not recognizing your gold medal feat in the World University Games in Kazan, Russia thus depriving you of incentives set to have worth P1 million. And you studying at Webster U in St. Louis and your family migrating to Canada. Switching federations is no solution. While you have unmasked what the NCFP and its president Butch Pichay did wrong, you also hurt the rest of us Filipinos looking up to you in the process. And to you Susan, don’t use our countrymen working abroad as a smokescreen of your sorry excuse. They’re not there to make the Top 10 in the world rankings or to become world champions. But hey, it’s your life. Don’t worry, Wesley, whatever you do from now and whatever have you become, you will always have a place in my heart. And thank you for giving us all an inspiration that we can all reach for the stars and grab it like you did. As for our officials, don’t make this same mistake again. We just lost a national treasure, which I personally believe is a crime.

Follow Sportsmaryosep on Twitter: @JoeySVillar

(Photos courtesy of and Wesley So)


13 thoughts on “So American

  1. At first I admire your work but hitting GM Wesley So with an insinuation of “betrayal of flag & country” is akin to hitting below the belt & sugar coating. But that is your opinion. I also DISAGREE with your insinuation that the act of GM So cause Filipino chess fans to “hate” him. On the contrary, he gain more supporters than what you ate espousing. Ditto questioning the decision & hidden agenda of Susan & So, it is so unsportmanslike. Ditto proclaiming IM Bersamina as the future of Phil Chess is placing too many unnecessary pressure on the kid. Lastly, you seem to point all the blame on GM So & his coach as the culprit branding him a traitor & unpatriotic which so unsportsmanlike, immature and plain sour-graping/sugar coating. It would have been best for you to report just as is and NOT inserting your personal opinion on the matter which may or may not be true. Fair & balanced journalism but you did not. You choose to depend NCFP & Pichay for all their worth to you. But hey, its your blog & you can do whatever you want and express whatever you like and it does not even matter if your one sided or not. The least you could have done us stay neutral, be fair and balanced on your writeups not one sided. I respect your opinion & your entitled to it. Its a free country anyway. Just my thoughts nothing personal Joey.


    • Hi. Thanks for the reply and reading my blog. Whenever i write at The Star i always stay true and objective. But this is a blog. Which means i can be opinionated, voice my opinion. Write your own blog and i will rspect uours. So pls respect mine. Thank you.


  2. And one more thing, I always believe that politics should have no place in any sports organization. If a sports org is run by politicians, the entire org is in disarray. Though there is perhaps an exception, but the leader should be one with unquestionable integrity/credibility, competent leader/administrator, proven track record on sports programs and last not involved in any previous wrong doings as his/her past acts can drag the entire institution down. It would have been better to let the NCFP run by real chess player with unquestionable integrity, leadership and commands the trust & respect of his peers. Eugene Torre might fit but ey politicians dominate what can you expect. Total failure. Good luck to Philippine Chess and those crooks in power and their supporters I hope you all rot in hell. Your acts are unpatriotic, betrayal to the Filipino people and the flag.


  3. Pressure? I am the father of Pau and we feel no pressure. We just continue to work hard and enjoy the game. If they decide to let Pau play, good, if not, good also, there are plenty of things worthwhile doing. Baka ikaw ang nape-pressure.

    You cannot separate Sports from Politics here. Haven’t you heard Chairman Garcia? He said that PSC is a government agency, and government is political, so there is politics in sports. POC is private. PSC is in charge of funding and the allowances of athletes. What Chairman Garcia is concerned is that if there is politics in the selection of athletes. But he cannot answer that because the NSA’s are in charge of selecting athletes, not the PSC. The PSC can only downgrade or suspend the allowance of an athlete but they cannot terminate an athlete.

    Joey, my son is different. He is not a member of the wanmani group. He is disciplined, hindi umiinom ng alak, hindi nambababae, hindi nagsusugal, hindi DOTA addict, and most of all, hindi game-fixer, hindi bumibili ng laro o ng draw para lang sumikat.

    Baka bumangon si Rizal if Pau will do otherwise.

    Salamat po sa Diyos sa kanyang kaloob na hindi masayod.


    • Hi thanks for commenting and reading my blog. I genuinely wish Paulo, Garcia and other young guns like this Nouri kid success.When I was just a cub reporter of the Manila Times back in 96, I saw the potential and predicted Gomez, Sadorra and Barbosa to become GMs someday even though they’re just 9 years old. I see it in Paulo. And wish we have more in the country. I’m a chess player by heart. It pains me that this is happening to chess. Just like you sir.


    • Agree ako sa inyo sir Nor, Pau is a good boy just like Wes. Pressure palagay ko po hindi. Remember untitled Wesley 2005 Oct. ginawang board 1 sa 1st Pichay Cup team Tournament na ginanap sa Celebrity Sports Plaza QC. Mayor Bambol Tolentino at that time ngayon ay congressman gave that break not to pressure Wes but boost his morale then follow up 2005 Dec. Intercities Team championship plays board 2 sa Tagaytay Team. Bambol again. 2006 Olympiad player na. Hardship, discipline at perseverance is what makes So. Goodluck! Pau work hard prove to them your capable.


  4. Changing federations is hard for Wesley of course. But it is a step to improve his play since he is now on the top 15 in FIDE ratings. We see now his priority: to improve his chess-play. He’s still young, 20 years old. You can call it a “betrayal”. But I am pretty sure he did say that he will always be a Filipino whatever federation he is into now. He can always represent the Philippines in the future.


  5. I do agree that this country is run by crooked politicians…but that doesn’t mean we have to abandon our own, for the sake of personal glory? i envy the japanese when that destructive tsunami hit their country, they have all the reason in the world to flee and be secured with their families…but we all know what they did, they sent their families to safety and the brave dare to stay and help themselves…but then,i also remember the poor soldiers who were guarding Spratleys/Kalayaan reefs. They have all the odds against them. they could have complained about the corruption, etc. etc. and leave their posts.They also have mouths to feed,families to raise and even worse, they are not even sure if they can ever come back see their loved ones again…but HELL NO! they were bound by duty to serve this country whatever the circumstance…and this So, who happens to be not as terrible situation as I’ve mentioned above,chooses not to represent his country for whatever damn reason it is, and what would you call him, if not UNPATRIOTIC??? Yes, he has done that before…ok fine.As if I would already stop helping my family again after helping them for the nth time, would anyone of you do that?


  6. and incidentally, the only World Chess Champion to come out from that country Bobby Fischer, had died even regretting why he was born in that country…and this So, wanting to be a World Champion someday, chooses to represent them and abandon his own. the heck!


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