THE Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) will play two more conferences in its maiden season and one of these tournaments will be named the Wesley So Cup after the super grandmaster who switched to US citizenship last February.
So, 27 and currently ranked No. 9 in the International Chess Federation, will be sponsoring the prize money for the second conference originally called the Reinforced Cup.
“It will now be called the Wesley So Cup,” PCAP Commissioner Paul Elauria told a video-linked press conference on Monday.
Elauria said that it was So’s camp through his spokesperson, former Philippine actress Lotis Key, which offered to bankroll one of PCAP’s tournaments.
“We’re in constant communication with SGM [super grandmaster So] and Ms. Lotis Key. The idea to sponsor a PCAP tournament was theirs,” Elauria said. “They told us that they want to help PCAP and we said that it’s an honor and we’ll name it the Wesley So Cup.”
The total purse for the recently-concluded All-Filipino conference was P175,000 with Laguna Heroes bagging P100,000, Camarines Soaring Eagles P50,000 and Iloilo Kinsela Knights P25,000 for finishing in the podium.
Elauria said the So camp could be increasing the prize money for the second conference, the schedule of which has yet to be determined by the organization.
That P175,000, which converts to close to $3,500, would be generous for So, who pledged allegiance to the US flag only last February 26.
So, who was world No. 2 in March 2017, banked $30,000 for finishing fourth in his last tournament—Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Magnus Invitational last March 22—hiking his winnings early in the year to $85,000.
The PCAP also has yet to set a date for the Open Conference, but PCAP chairman Michael Chua bared that the league will hold an All-Star Game on May 2.
“We want to showcase the talent of PCAP and the players and it will give all the players another goal to shoot for,” Chua said in the same online press conference.
The 24 teams—12 each for the North and South divisions—could include foreign players—titles or untitles—in their rosters for the Wesley So Cup.
The Open Conference, on the other hand, will showcase foreign teams competing against the domestic squads.