Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 21st 2015 Contents A49
Thursday, May 21, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Let us hope that the family crisis
facing Wesley So, the world s youngest
chess grandmaster, is finally over. The
21-year-old Filipino star, eighth-ranked
GM on the FIDE list, has had to weath-
er a family storm that threatens to
retard his journey to the top. To meet
such an attack, hopefully to neutralise
it, the troubled youngster has written
an emotional letter to his estranged
mother that exposes the real problem,
hopefully to find closure and a life
conducive to world-class chess play.
The letter does not mince words. It
follows the confrontation between So
and his mother, Leny, who flew from
her home in Canada to the US at the
start of the US National Championships
in which So was a featured entrant. The
young GM had recently won the
US$100,000 first prize at the inaugural
Millionaire Chess Open in Las Vegas.
He had reportedly left Webster Univer-
sity to pursue a full-time chess career.
Instead of supporting his move, however,
So s mother launched a harsh and open
So: Open letter
to my mother
attack on his departure from Webster, demanding
that he return to his formal education or face losing
complete contact with his family including his sis-
Lois Key, So s stepmother with whom he lives in
Minnesota, sought to protect him from what she
described as "an ambush" on the eve of the tour-
nament, an incident that created "stress and distraction
that could throw him off his game."
Inevitably this family turmoil took its toll on So s
concentration. His play was clearly below par; he
won four games, drew one and incredibly lost three,
one against a 14-year-old GM with the white pieces.
Eventually, in round nine, he was forfeited for insis-
tently writing notes to himself on his scoresheet. So s
performance and eventual disqualification not only
rocked the national championship tournament, it also
made international chess news.
To set the record straight, largely to refute the irate
gambit of his estranged mother, the young Filipino
GM has written an open letter that hopefully would
bring down the curtain on this distressing affair. To
begin with, he categorically denies his mother s charges
of being under the influence of his stepmother. He
declares: "I am not cut off, isolated, drugged, in
bondage or kidnapped. I do not belong to anyone but
God. I am a man who wishes to be let alone, to find
his own life."
"Leny So, I was not happy that you suddenly
showed up in my life unannounced at the biggest
tournament of the year, and that you came with Susan
Leonard (his aunt) whom I hardly know. In the last
six years I have only seen you once a year for about
a week. I hardly know you either and you certainly
don t know me to even suggest that I am anyone s
"All your statements to Chessdom are sad, ridiculous
and completely untrue. You exposed my emails?
Should I send out a few of the many you ve sent me
over the years where you call me putang ina mo and
threaten me with being cut off from the So family
forever if I do not do what you want?
"I am uncomfortable around you. You want me to
respect you but you have never respected me. You
left me when I was seven, telling me to become a
man and find my life. Well, I have found it. You just
don t like it.
"For your information it was not the Key family
who wanted to go to the media. It was me who pushed
them to speak out for me because I was going crazy
with anger after you revealed to us your involvement
with Paul Truong. I had you banned from the chess
club because you were lying to me from the moment
you said hello. The stress of finding out your betrayal
ruined my tournament.
"Screaming curses at me in the street, grabbing
my arms and trying to drag me along with you, humil-
iating me in public. Your way of showing love?
"And you think it strange that I ask people I trust
to be with me all the time. I ask the Key family to
accompany me to tournaments to help me. This does
not isolate me, it protects me. Stop blaming our
terrible family relationship on the innocent family
that has provided me with help and support. They
took me in when I needed someone and have worked
hard to guide and nurture me. They take nothing at
all from me and you know that.
"They are always there for me, helping me at great
inconvenience to their own lives and, instead of thank-
ing them you have maligned and smeared them to
make yourself look like a loving concerned mother.
Lois was always advising me to try and repair my
relationship with you and I could never explain why
I just can t. At least now she can see why for her-
GM Wesley So, eighth in the world rankings.
Links Archive May 20th 2015 May 22nd 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page