Minnesota Chess Master Aiming For 2nd Straight U.S. Title

Minnesota Chess Master Aiming For 2nd Straight U.S. Title


SO IF YOU HAD TO PREDICT, HOW MANY MOVES IS IT GOING TO TAKE YOU TO BEAT ME? WELL THAT DEPENDS. I’VE NEVER SEEN YOU PLAY. Reporter: WOULD YOU BELIEVE IT, THAT ONE OF THE BEST CHESS PLAYERS IN THE WORLD IS A 24-YEAR-OLD KID WHO LIVES IN MINNETONKA? WESLEY SO IS THE DEFENDING U.S. CHAMPION. HE’S THE THIRD HIGHEST RATED PLAYER IN THE U.S., AND TOP TEN IN THE WORLD. Reporter: YOU KNOW ALREADY? YOU ALREADY KNOW HOW YOU’RE GOING TO BEAT ME. HOW DOES ONE GET TO BE AS GOOD AT THIS AS YOU ARE? TAKES A LOT OF PRACTICE. Reporter: CHAMPIONSHIP MATCHES CAN TAKE UP TO FIVE HOURS. HE DIDN’T NEED NEARLY THAT LONG WITH ME. Reporter: TWO OUT OF THREE? WESLEY IS ORIGINALLY FROM THE PHILIPPINES. IN THE PHILIPPINES CHESS IS POPULAR. I HAVE ALWAYS ENJOYED CHESS SINCE I WAS YOUNG. I WAS IMPRESSED WITH HOW THERE’S AND INFINITE NUMBER OF POSSIBILITIES. JUST FASCINATED. CHESS IS VERY CALCULATING. I WOULD PLAY AGAINST MY NEIGHBORS, AND I WOULD CARRY A CHESS SET AND GO AROUND MY NEIGHBORHOOD, SHOUTING TO ANYONE WHO WOULD WANT TO PLAY. Reporter: HE BECAME A GRAND MAPSER, THE HIGHEST TITLE IN CHESS, AT AGE 14. CHESS CHOOSES YOU. YOU DON’T CHOOSE CHESS. Reporter: HE CAME TO THE STATES TO GO TO COLLEGE IN SAINT LOUIS. HE WON TWO TITLE ELSE, AND TURNED PRO. HE LIVES IN MINNETONKA. YOU’RE REALLY GOOD. Reporter: WHAT DOES HE DO FOR A LIVING? THIS. FOR ME, CHESS IS A CAREER. I’VE BEEN A PROFESSIONAL FOR THREE AND A HALF YEARS NOW. Reporter: TOURNAMENTS ARE A BIG SOURCE OF INCOME, AND THEY DON’T GET MUCH BIGGER THAN HIS NEXT ONE, THE U.S. CHESS CHAMPIONSHIPS WITH A TOTAL PRIZE PURSE OF $194,000. THE WINNER GETS 50,000 OF THAT. IT’S THE COUNTRY’S MOST ELITE, INVITATION-ONLY COMPETITION, HELD ANNUALLY IN ST. LOUIS. 12 GAMES LONG, 1 GAME PER DAY, WITH 11 VICTORIES NEEDED TO WIN. WESLEY WON IT FOR THE FIRST TIME LAST YEAR AFTER TAKING 2Nd AND 3rd THE YEARS BEFORE THAT. REQUIRES A LOT OF PREPARATION, A LOT OF FOCUS. Reporter: SIGNIFICANTLY LESS TO BEAT ME. DAVID McCOY, WCCO 4 SPORTS. AND ROUND 1 OF THE TOURNAMENT STARTS WEDNESDAY IN ST. LOUIS.

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