Some people believe that he could be a future chess World Champion and now, he just might do it carrying the banner of the United States. Grandmaster Wesley So, who is ranked 15th in the world, recently announced through Susan Polgar’s chess blog that he will be switching from the National Chess Federation of the Philippines to the United States Chess Federation. Grandmaster So had previously requested a release from the NCFP following the upcoming Olympiad in Tromso but his request was ignored, which prompted his most recent announcement. Unfortunately, FIDE rules require that he suspend his participation in top-level chess events for two years prior to switching to the USCF or else he could pay a 50k euro fee to transfer immediately.
Here is a transcript of the letter sent by Grandmaster So to the president of NCFP, Propsero Pichay, requesting immediate release from the NCFP.
Dear Cong Pichay,
I would like to share my thoughts about changing federations. I hope you have the time to read my letter. I appreciate your understanding in advance.
First of all, I would like to thank you for your past support. I am proud to be Filipino, and I will always be a Filipino at heart. I will never forget where I came from.
However, circumstances have changed. My family has permanently moved to Canada. I now live and attend school full time in the United States (at Webster University). I plan to reside permanently here. This is where I will have the opportunity to improve my chess, and make a decent living as a professional player. I want to be able to play in top level tournaments … to get to the next level.
I have filed the paperwork to switch federation to the US last year. I respectfully ask that you grant me this opportunity and consent my transfer.
If you choose not to approve my transfer request, I have no way of paying the 50,000 euros fees to the NCFP. Therefore, I will have no choice but to sit out another year to fulfill my full two year waiting period so no transfer fees are needed. This will not benefit the NCFP at all. However, it will severely slow down my progress by not being able to play in official FIDE events such as the World Cup, World Blitz and Rapid Championships, etc. I will be forced to miss the next World Championship cycle.
Because of the 2-year waiting period rule of FIDE, I am not able to compete in the World Rapid and Blitz Championships in Dubai next week. I will also not be able to compete in the upcoming Olympiad in Norway.
This is not an easy decision. But it is the best decision for me to have a chance to be a top 10 player in the world, and perhaps one day fight for the World Championship crown. I hope you will support my decision and allow me to make this change immediately so I can have a chance to chase my dream without losing more valuable time at this very important age.
Respectfully yours, Wesley So