So’s fate in limbo

By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS – The fate of the country’s top chess player remains in limbo after a meeting between his manager and NCFP President Butch Pichay Jr. failed to resolve the transfer issue.

Posting on his Facebook page from Tromson, Norway, where the Chess Olympiad is being held, Paul Troung, Wesley So’s, manager, said a meeting with Pichay did not lead to any amicable settlement.

The 20-year old So, now No. 12 in the world, is seeking to transfer to the United States Chess Federation, and is currently acting as coach to the U.S. team in the Chess Olympiad.

A year ago, he joined the Webster University chess team, which is coached by GM Susan Polgar, Troung’s wife.

Troung said in his Facebook post that Pichay finally met them in Norway, and the Filipino chess leader brought with him two officials of the NFCP.

Pichay allegedly said that to release So would be to jeopardize the government funding to the chess body, which is provided by the Philippine Sports Commission.

In addition, So receives 40,000 pesos a month as government subsidy for top-rated athletes.

The World Chess Federation, or FIDE, sets some strident rules on transfering from one federation to another.

According to FIDE’s handbook, a player may transfer to a new federation immediately provided the old federation does not object, something that So wishes.

Otherwise, the transfer become complicated, including payment of fees and sitting out as long as two years, in which the player is prohibited from participating in any competition.

So hoped to avoid all the complications by a simple release from the National Chess Federation of the Philippines, Troung said.

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