What is wrong with Wesley So?

by Frederic Friedel
4/11/2015 – It was incredible and mind numbing: the number eight player in the world rankings, Wesley So, won four games, drew one and incredibly lost three, one against a 14-year-old GM with the white pieces. Then in round nine he was forfeited for writing or having an encouraging note to himself below his scoresheet. Clearly the 21-year-old GM was in emotional distress. Here is some background.

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Controversial news around Wesley So

After a lot of rumours and blog postings a newspaper from Wesley So's town of residence, Minnetonka, Minnesota, where he currently lives with his foster parents, came out with the following explosive story, from which we excerpt the most important passages. [Correction: StarTribune is not a local newspaper from Minnetonka, but is published in Minneapolis, the largest city in the state of Minnesota. It is the seventeenth most read newspaper in the United States]. The technicalities of the forfeit of So in round nine of the US Championship 2015 – an appeal by Wesly So has just been rejected – will be the subject of an upcoming report.

The incident, which rocked the national championship competition, led [Wesley So] — and the Minnetonka family that has taken him in like a son — to reveal a tale of what the family called an ambush by his estranged mother on the eve of the tournament, an incident that created stress and distraction that threw him off his game. “There are personal problems in my family,” So said after the forfeit. “Trying to fix them during this tournament caused a lot of stress and tension. It diverted a lot of energy from the board when I should be focusing on my game.”

As the shock over the forfeit reverberated at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis, the Minnetonka family that So lives with said it was time to explain publicly what has been behind his poor performance in the event.

Lotis Key and her husband, Renato Kabigting, took So, a 21-year-old Filipino, into their home last October after So decided to drop out of Webster University in suburban St. Louis, where he had a chess scholarship. He had just won the $100,000 first prize at the inaugural Millionaire Chess Open, and he wanted to pursue a chess career full time.

The decision to drop out did not sit well with So’s mother, with whom he’s had a difficult relationship since at least his midteens, when his parents and siblings moved from the Philippines to Canada. So stayed behind.

According to Key, So’s mother and aunt came to St. Louis and contacted So minutes after his arrival at a hotel. Key said they began, in strident encounters over the course of several days, to insist that he return to college or face losing complete contact with his family, including his sisters. At one point, So’s mother and aunt confronted him outside the chess club after his game, trying to grab his arm and yelling at him when he wouldn’t go with them to talk, according to Key and So. That led to an apology by So to the club for the scene, and a request that the mother and aunt be banned from the tournament site.

Key said So’s mother admitted to her that So’s former chess coach at Webster had a hand in her trip to St. Louis to confront her son, including reserving a hotel room for her. Key and So said the former coach, Paul Truong, was angry over losing one of the world’s top players from his team when So left Webster. “Wesley fell apart after that, knowing that his own biological family was working with his worst enemy,” Key said. “Paul will never forgive Wesley for leaving Webster.” Key said that “three adults conspired to destroy a kid.”

Truong acknowledged that he had e-mail contact with So’s mother about a month before the tournament in which “she asked me if she could come down.” He said he replied that the tournament was open to anyone to watch. But he denied reserving a room or otherwise engineering their trip, saying that Key’s allegations are “absolutely 100 percent false” and that Key is manufacturing excuses for So’s losses.

Read the full story on the StarTribune web site


Since he was explicitly mentioned in the above article – in previous blog postings it was generally "a certain gentleman" – we contacted Paul Truong, who is the husband of of the initiator of SPICE (the "Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence") which joined Webster University in suburban St. Louis in 2012. Paul sent us the following statement, which we have slightly abbreviated. The full version can be read on Paul's Facebook page. He also sent us pictures to support his version of events.

The current saga with Wesley So is very very sad. I wish that he can resolve it quietly and peacefully with his family. Unfortunately, I am now being used as an scapegoat. I am being attacked in the media by Mrs. Lotis Key (the woman who Wesley is living with right now in Minnesota) with false information for months. I have held my tongue until now because I did not want Wesley to get hurt. But unfortunately, the truth has to come out when I am now being directly attacked and mentioned in the media.

It is a blatantly false narrative that was purposely presented to the media by Mrs. Lotis Key that Wesley So decided to quit school and left Webster. She also claimed that because of this, I decided to sabotage his chess career out of revenge. It would make a good Hollywood story but this is 100% false. The idea about his Mother and Aunt were trying to get him to come back to Webster last week is also 100% not true because they knew the real reason. Wesley could not come back even if he wanted to. The reason is simple.

Wesley So did not quit school after winning Millionaire Chess to turn professional. Wesley So's SPICE chess scholarship was fully revoked on October 28, 2014 at 12:02 am for multiple team rule violations. He was informed and his biological family was copied on the email. The false narrative started in the first ChessBase article written by Mr. Eliseo [Tumbaga]. I did inform him that there was serious misinformation in the article. But I did not demand a retraction because I did not want to embarrass Wesley.

If I wanted to sabotage his career, why now? Why after Webster dominated the PanAm and Final Four without Wesley. And why not all these previous months? He played Las Vegas North American Open, Wijk aan Zee, and Bunratty, etc. without any incident.

Wesley was completely winning against Sevian and Robson. But in sharp positions, and especially in time pressure, mistakes are bound to happen. He offered a draw to Sevian but Sevian refused and played on to win. In the game against Holt, he was caught in an opening line which Holt previously prepared for the PanAm. And for his forfeit against Akobian, he was specifically told by us and his former Webster teammates at least a dozen times not to do it again. He ignored what we told him. The last time I saw him do this was during Millionaire Chess in October 2014. I immediately told him to stop it. GM Ramirez also saw him do it and commented on it yesterday. He was warned by Chief Arbiter Tony Rich twice during this US Championship. He also ignored those warnings. He knew full well that the 3rd time would result in a forfeit. I was not even at the venue. How am I responsible for this?

  • I also stated a few days ago, after Mr. Eliseo posted a false accusation from Mrs. Lotis Key, that
  • I did not book any hotel room for anyone, especially Wesley's relatives.
  • I did not pay for for any hotel room in cash or credit card.
  • I did not buy any airline tickets for anyone.
  • I did not arrange any trip for anyone. Neither did Webster or anyone I know.
  • I did not go to the St Louis Chess Club. In fact, I have not been to the St Louis Chess Club since March 2012.

Whoever said that I paid for these things to purposely harm Wesley is is either a liar or delusional. This is an issue between Wesley and his relatives, not mine. Leave me out of it. I want to have nothing to do with it. I went to work at Webster U every single day and all of us have more than our hands full preparing our three students competing at the US Championships. I do not have time for someone else's drama. All of the chess students and coaching staff at Webster U are sick and tired of all the drama. Enough already. Leave all of us alone.

I have no ill will toward Wesley, even today. We always treated him like family and we have gone out of our ways to help him on and off the chess board for 2.5 years. All of us feel sad and sorry for what he is going through right now and we all wish him the best.

Pictures sent to us by Paul Truong

Wesley and Elenanor (Leny) So, his biological mother, a day before the start of the 2015 US Championship

Leny, Wesley and Susan So Leonard, Wesley's aunt, in front of the
World Chess Hall of Fame in the Central West End, St. Louis ...

... and at the Opening Ceremony of the 2015 U.S. Championship, in the Saint Louis Art Museum

Leny So during the start of round one, watching her son playing (and beating) Daniel Naroditsky


Lotis Melisande Key is a former professional film and theater actress who starred in 85 major films in Asia. She is the currently Vice President of Minnesota Christian Writers Guild.

Lotis Key and Wesley So before the start of round eight

Lotis received the FAMAS Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress in 1973. She has worked with the likes of Ramon Zamora, Tony Ferrer (Kung Fu Master), Chiquito, Eddie Garcia, George Estregan and Dante Varona. She made about eleven movies with Comedy King Dolphy. In 1986, she moved to the U.S. and worked in industrial video, trade shows, TV commercials, theater, radio, narration and actress until 1999. She became a theater director and writer. She wrote and produced plays that traveled all over the US and Canada. From producing theater she moved on to writing and apart from numerous magazine and newspaper articles has published two literary novels: The Song of the Tree and A Thing Devoted.

Information above: Wikipedia, Images: Google + Lotis Key's web site

Lotis has told us that that when Wesley is stressed he writes himself notes on what to do – wash your hair, eat more fruit, exercise. "I find them in odd places all over the house," she said. "He had been warned not to scribble on the score sheet so he scribbled it on another paper."


Wesley So, born on October 9, 1993 in Bacoor, Cavite, to William and Eleanor So, became the youngest Filipino International Master in history, at the age of 12 years and 10 months. He achieved his GM title at the age of 14 years, 1 month and 28 days, making him the ninth youngest chess grandmaster in history. In October 2008, So was rated 2610 and thus became the youngest player ever in the history of the game to cross the 2600 Elo barrier, breaking the record previously held by Magnus Carlsen.

Ten youngest grandmasters in history

No.
 Player
Nat.
years
mths
days
born
GM
FIDE
 Sergey Karjakin
UKR
12
7
0
1990
2002
 Parimarjan Negi
IND
13
4
22
1993
2006
 Magnus Carlsen
NOR
13
4
27
1990
2004
 Wei Yi
CHN
13
8
23
1999
2013
 Bu Xiangzhi
CHN
13
10
13
1985
1999
 Richard Rapport
HUN
13
11
15
1996
2010
 Teimour Radjabov
AZE
14
0
14
1987
2001
 Ruslan Ponomariov 
UKR
14
0
17
1983
1997
 Wesley So
PHI
14
1
28
1993
2007
10 
 Etienne Bacrot
FRA
14
2
0
1983
1997

As of April 2015, Wesley is number eight in the world rankings, with a 2788 rating

In August 2012, Wesley began full-time study at Webster University in St. Louis under the SPICE program, founded by former women's world champion Susan Polgar. After a string of successes he won the Millionaire Chess Tournament held in Las Vegas in October 2014 scoring 8.5/13, transferred to the United States Chess Federation in November 2014 and soon after left Webster University to focus full time on chess. He moved to Minnetonka, Minnesota, to live with foster parents. He shared second place at the Tata Steel Masters in January 2015.

ChessBase recent portrait articles on Wesley So

  • 12/20/2014 – Wesley So shooting for the stars (1/2)
    Wesley So is hardly a new name on the horizon as one of the youngest grandmasters ever, and a prodigy in every sense of the word. He went to the United States on a chess scholarship, where he has now transferred as a player, but after a series of successes in 2014, breaking into the world's Top 10, he has decided to go all out for chess after announcing his next goal of 2800.

  • 12/22/2014 – Wesley So shooting for the stars (2/2)
    In this second part of an in-depth look at Wesley So, the reasons for his surprising and somewhat controversial change to play for the United States are made clear. Many of his compatriots reacted emotionally to this announcement, accusing him of being 'unpatriotic', but he explains the reasons that led to the decision, and vows he will never lose sight of his Filipino heritage.

  • 2/26/2015 – Wesley So: Life at the top (1/2)
    Wesley So has always been a great talent, now he is seen as potential challenger for the World title. In the last two years the 21-year old has won 106 rating points and is currently number 7 in the world. In an extensive report Eliseo Tumbaga writes about So's new life at the top, the rivalry with Hikaru Nakamura, and the prospects of challenging Magnus Carlsen.

  • 3/3/2015 – Wesley So: Life at the top (2/2)
    In the second part of his extensive portrait of potential World Championship candidate Wesley So, Eliseo Tumbaga reveals that So and Magnus Carlsen once trained together and wonders how the career of the 21-year old will continue in 2015, if he will work with a professional coach, and how he will adjust to the new life as one of the world's best.


Addendum: The title of this article "What's wrong with Wesley So" does not translate to the denigrating "what is he doing wrong", but was used with a sense of concern, as in what is going wrong for him, why is he in turmoil, why is he struggling? It is a normal sports idiom, as in "What Is Wrong With Rick Nash" ("Rick Nash has struggled to produce points in the last month. What factors are contributing to that, and will things turn around for him?"), or "What is Wrong with the Boston Bruins?" ("Coming into the 2014-15 season, many questions surrounded the Boston Bruins and how they would respond after losing to their rivals, the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference semifinals.") – just two headlines from recent sports news.

On a personal note: I met Wesley So in Wijk aan Zee in January 2009. I was having breakfast with Anish Giri, who had just completed his final GM norm (the report with really cute pictures of the fourteen-year-old is here). On the next table was a 15-year-old Filipino whom Anish kept joking with. I got into a fairly intense conversation with the lad, who was struggling to express himself. In the end he said something like: "Can we continue this discussion when I have learnt more English?" Utterly charming – turned me into an instant fan. Incidentally Anish is currently number seven in the world, just two points ahead of Wesley. I am proud to count both as my friends.


Topics US Champ, USA

Editor-in-Chief of the ChessBase News Page. Studied Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Hamburg and Oxford, graduating with a thesis on speech act theory and moral language. He started a university career but switched to science journalism, producing documentaries for German TV. In 1986 he co-founded ChessBase.
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juanoxgeneroso juanoxgeneroso 4/17/2015 09:19
Writing to another piece of paper about something personal is an offense? Cmon!
stephen brady stephen brady 4/14/2015 07:00
nice catch, @wowbagger. Hello Mr. Truong (chessinquisitor). Interesting and sad saga for Wesley.
Adam Kadmon Adam Kadmon 4/13/2015 11:52
Yeah, not surprising to see Truong writing here under one of his aliases trying to sway and spin. His "story" of the events has more holes than swiss cheese. Is it any wonder that Paul Truong and S. Polgar are always involved in scandal, criminal charges, and lawsuits?!

Ugh!

I'm glad to see any chess player break free from their nefarious operations. Go Wes!! We know you are an awesome, kind, and decent-hearted guy with great prospects of being World Champ, despite all the petty and selfish acts and resentments of others!
wowbagger wowbagger 4/13/2015 08:07
Ah, "ChessInquisitor", I know this handle. It's discussed on the talk section of Paul Truong's Wikipedia page that this is probably Mr Truong himself. Hi there!
ChessInquisitor ChessInquisitor 4/13/2015 06:37
Let's look at the facts. In his Filipino homeland, Wesley So is estranged from his family and his chess federation. He moves to the US presumably on a student visa. He's then kicked out of Webster's scholastic program. This must be an embarrassment to both parties and presumably Wesbter only did it as a last resort. He's had odd dealings with other tournament organizers e.g. Bunratty. In this tournament, he is warned not once but TWICE about the illegality of note taking. Any normal 'chess professional' would look long and hard at the FIDE regulations and make sure he understands them clearly (or ask for clarification) before engaging in a third and flagrant violation. Again, I'm sure the arbiter knew the controversy this would generate but what to do against a repeat offender?
Overall, we see a pattern of destructive behaviour that has no consideration for others. Wesley is old enough to live his own life and I can only think of two possible explanations:
1) He is an idiot-savant so wrapped up in chess that he is oblivious to anything else and unaware of the consequences of his actions.
2) He understands what he is doing but is too arrogant to believe the rules apply to him.
Whichever it is, he needs to grow up and act like the adult that he is in age. If he genuinely wants to become World Champion, he needs to hire a minder/butler/manager fast just like Ed Edmondson used to hold Bobby Fischer's hand and look after all his needs in the 1970-72 cycle.
ashperov ashperov 4/13/2015 02:59
I hope So sorts out his personnel life, so he can get back to chasing his dream (presumably winning the World Chess Championship). No one has a right to interfere. You know what they say... YOLO
Max Marzano Max Marzano 4/13/2015 07:02
@KevinC, it is not clear that So used a note.

So wrote a note. I invite you to look up the definitions of "write" and "use" in the dictionary. You will find that the definitions are different; therefore "write" and "use" are not the same.

If you still do not appreciate this, realize it is possible for me to write a note on a sheet of paper that I am not looking at and am not able to see, but which can be in perfectly understandable English. If I never look at at that sheet of paper, I have never used the note.

Regarding the spirit of the rule, you are wrong there too: all 3 clauses in the rule that you have quoted refer to using EXTERNAL information. So it is obvious that the rule is aimed at preventing players from using external information that can assist in a game, not information internal to oneself.

You mention that he was warned multiple times. But you do not mention that he was warned not to write on his scoresheet, which he stopped doing.

You seem to assert that it is correct for him to be forfeited based on a technicality, yet you seem willing to ignore of all of the technicalities in the FIDE rules.
thernly thernly 4/13/2015 04:22
Paul Truong: "Wesley So did not quit school after winning Millionaire Chess to turn professional. Wesley So's SPICE chess scholarship was fully revoked on October 28, 2014 at 12:02 am for multiple team rule violations. He was informed and his biological family was copied on the email."

If SPICE and Mr. Truong are indeed affiliated with Webster University, Mr. Truong's public disclosure of information concerning the circumstances under which Mr. So's status as a student at Webster was terminated violates Mr. So's privacy rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99). FERPA is a Federal law in the U.S. that protects the privacy of student education information. Because Mr. So is an adult, even disclosing this information to Mr. So's family, if it occurred without his consent, constituted a further violation of the Act. If Mr. Truong is an employee or agent of Webster University or received the information from an employee or agent of Webster, his disclosure constitutes a violation of the Act by the University as well. Webster has by far the most to lose as a result of these gross violations of Federal law, and Webster has a duty to take prompt, decisive action to put a stop to Mr. Truong's access to and disclosure of private student information.
ff2017 ff2017 4/13/2015 12:12
What's wrong with Wesley So? What's wrong with Wesley So?? What's wrong with Wesley So???

Come on it's obvious:

He didn't finish college!! Everyone is forgetting about his poor Asian parents. They have the ignominy of a kid who couldn't finish college. The shame they must be feeling from the Asian community has to be overwhelming!! Something along the lines of Justine Sacco, 2 hrs after getting off the plane.

Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Mark Zuckerberg .... these titans of industry .... not Asian. Doesn't matter if you have the blue print for workable cold fusion, you'd better get that degree. In Contrast Jerry Yang: Yahoo! was up and running already and between hiring hundreds of engineers and putting in the finishing touches to Yahoo! Fantasy Baseball, he still was able to finish his degree.

Lê Quang Liêm (webster student), Ray Robson (Asian mother), they know better Even if Paul Truong doesn't have their passports sequestered in Al Gore's lockbox, they're not stupid. This kind of shame reverberates across generations, both forward and backward.

And the biggest name of all, Hou Yifan. Why does her mother travel around with her in all international competitions?? Certainly not the most obvious reason ... that being the Chinese Chess Federation doesn't want another Zhu Chen situation (world champion falling in love with a non-asian chess player and losing her to another federation (Zhu Chen stated she was relocated to Beijing without her parents and was so lonely.... poor girl)).

No no no, it's to make sure she's studying and getting good grades and not flittering her time moving a bunch of figurines around a board. This is why she skipped Gibraltar and Tata in 2014, Her parents saw that she got an B+ in her "International Relations of the Great Powers in the Late 19th and 20th Centuries" after blowing off her final to prepare for Tata Steel 2013. This time, she knew better as paraphrased in an interview in Hawaii after going 5.5/6 in day 2, "I was studying for my finals and did not prepare for Tata or Gibraltar, ... this is why I had to familarize myself with the pieces again)."

Go back to school Wesley. Think of your kids and grandkids.

*Hey Internet, this comment was mostly written tongue firmly in cheek
kayatoast kayatoast 4/12/2015 10:18
+1 BelowZero
CaissaBoy CaissaBoy 4/12/2015 08:21
Wesley, stay strong, stay focused. You'll get through this challenging situation and be a better man in the end.
oputu oputu 4/12/2015 07:17
I know it was wrong of So to say that Akobian wanted to get a cheap point but clearly, that was the truth. His feign of innocence was most disgusting. You can see the cloud of guilt on his shoulders as he walked in with So to pick up his stuff. He had nothing to get from the table but just kept following So around. That is a guilty 'child' (if you do have one you would understand) at work.
When I get home from work I switch on the games to see what Hikaru and So are playing, what the two Samuels are playing,........who cares what Akobian is playing.
oputu oputu 4/12/2015 07:12
@ ChessPlease; before you rush to defend Akobian you should watch his interview. He knew of So's habit (good or bad habit is irrelevant to the point I am making), he also knew So had been warned not to write on his score sheet and he seemingly waited for it to happen and pounced on it. Whether So was writing on a separate paper different from his score sheet was of little importance to someone who already planned to complain from move 1. Now we'll never know what happens after 6.dxc5 because Akobian never planned to play chess.
I have played 4 hrs games before and never even looked up at my opponent during the entire episode. If on move 6 you are distracted by a habit you already claimed to know about (since you claimed so in your interview), then you are either a bad actor or a bad liar. I know it was wrong of
fons fons 4/12/2015 07:07
The title is wrong in view of the previous reports about the rule violation that were published.

Now the title gives the wrong impression and makes it look like he is the villain when the purpose of this article is to give more context (and make him look less like a villain).
Igor Freiberger Igor Freiberger 4/12/2015 06:47
+1 BelowZero, TMMM, Max Marzano, deep_port

As someone already pointed, how Truong has recent So's personal pictures if he has nothing to do with all the issue?
ChessPlease ChessPlease 4/12/2015 04:45
Sorry, but those of you defending So don't really have a leg to stand on. Whatever his personal problems may be, it's his own responsibility to separate his personal life from his professional life and not put undue psychological strain on his colleagues. If he's experiencing psychological trauma, he should either keep it under wraps, or respectfully withdraw from the event claiming illness. Some of you think that he should have received yet another warning based on the claim the he was only informed that taking notes on the score sheet is illegal, and he wasn't technically writing on his score sheet. That's merely splitting hairs. Since when are players allowed to write on anything besides the score sheet during a game? A player of So's caliber should know this by now, and his claim to the contrary seems disingenuous at best.

Aron Nimzovitch--who was notoriously repulsed by tobacco smoke, was once in an analogous situation. His opponent took out a cigarette case or cigar case(I forget which), and when Nimzovitch protested, his opponent stated that he wasn't actually smoking, to which Nimzovitch pithiliy replied that, "the threat is stronger than the execution". In other words, an adversary's threat to do something unpleasant can often exert more of a psychological strain than actually doing it, because the threat to do something takes place in perpetuity as long as the circumstances allow the execution. Sure, writing encouraging notes to yourself may seem innocuous, but Akobian didn't know whether So was drawing smiling sunshines and stick figures, or writing down a tree of analysis, or perhaps even more insidiously, drawing a diagram of a critical position several ply deep in the analysis to get a clearer picture of how to proceed. Whether or not So was actually doing this is immaterial. That fact that he could have been doing it puts an unnecessary psychological burden on Akobian, and it shouldn't be his responsibility to have to look under So's score sheet every move to check whether So's behavior really is benign. That's why note taking of any kind is illegal. So was warned, and he broke the rules.
soissons soissons 4/12/2015 03:18
Mr. Friedel,

I see now your Addendum and Personal Note. While I understand your motivation to back track and to pretend now you are a "friend" of Wesley So. But it doesn't fly. Remember you are writing to chessplayers who are a discerning lot. Your article was a misplaced, mistimed disgrace. Let me suggest a more appropriate Addendum: "I'm sorry".
behroozfar behroozfar 4/12/2015 12:54
Best wishes for BIG Wesley So
Pionki Pionki 4/12/2015 11:26
Dear Wesley, I hope you do not open chessbase.com. If you do, you should stop. The last thing you need is a distraction from would-be chess players. Remember your goal? To achieve it you have to remain concentrated and focused. You’ve broken a rule (or not) - who cares, get over it and concentrate on what you do best – playing chess. Champion of US, Norway or Madagascar – who cares? Your goal is to get to the top and stay there for others to follow you, and that’s the way it should be. Life gives you only one opportunity to make the best of your best years (and that period may not be as long as you might think). Do not waste that opportunity, do not get distracted, do not read all that rubbish. The opinion of the crowd is what matters the least and it can be extremely destructive. One day Chessbase will be running a daily report on your match for the highest title, but until then just do not follow their stories. Trust me.
Pionki Pionki 4/12/2015 11:24
Shocking from Chessbase! After reading these words I thought that one player used a smartphone to checkmate another player. The news was actually about an incident that does not deserve the attention it got. Chessbase is a typical news agency that is only too happy to blow out anything out of proportion. I can understand this – after all, their profit is proportional to the number of mouse clicks. What I don’t understand is all the rubbish that followed. Leave the man alone and he will sort it out for himself.
firestorm firestorm 4/12/2015 10:58
A few things to consider, from reading the above article and comments.

I've played tournament games where my opponents wrote notes at the board whilst it was my move- one of them incessantly. Its very distracting, whatever the content of the notes. Its not in the spirit of the game. In a national championship its a pretty bizarre thing to do, which leads me to the second point- some contributors have said Wesley So didn't listen- Wesley's behaviour does not sound like it is deliberately ignoring being told to stop, but compulsive, given other comments in the story. Irrespective of the rights or wrongs of the default, it sounds like Wesley needs some support to stop doing this (presumably that's already understood by those around him). Akobian was right to raise it with an arbiter if he felt So's conduct was distracting, it is as simple as that.

Curiousity- if Paul Truong had nothing to do with what transpired and wanted to stay out of it, how come he had pictures of Wesley and his family? That seems odd to say the least.

I wish Wesley well- his level of play is so high, I suspect he will be presented with regular distractions, particularly given his circumstances. I hope these can be resolved more discreetly, without them being raised in public. That's not a covert criticism of Frederic Friedel or of Chessbase- Chessbase includes this news forum, after all- but a hope for those involved in the events described.
wowbagger wowbagger 4/12/2015 09:43
What's wrong with Wesley So? Answer: Nothing. Looks like he made the right move.

Mr Truong uses the opportunity to show what's wrong with himself.

( I like the accuracy of revoking a scholarship two minutes past midnight. ) ( Probably for scribbling on scoresheets. )
daftarche daftarche 4/12/2015 09:20
they could have gave him a time penalty and let the result determines on the chessboard. by the way then So couldn't double check and triple check his moves.
gurutactician gurutactician 4/12/2015 08:25
@KevinC Now, I'm going to ask you to read what you posted:

you clearly have not read the rules: 11.3 states, "a.During play the players are forbidden to use any notes, sources of information or advice, or analyse (sic) any game on another chessboard."

Now let me ask you, what do you tell all the top players who clearly observe other players' games during their own games ("..... any game on another chessboard.")? Many a times similar positions arise and one could easily cheat by watching development unfold on another board. They watch the big screen and even use it to know when to take chances in a game (refer to the Candidate's when Kramnik and Carlsen, both was observing what was happening on each other's boards).

In So's case, another warning was perhaps in order since he wrote on another piece of paper. And we are talking about a Super GM. That said, I'm glad Fabiano Caruana decides to stay away from this mess and stay in an Italian chess club!

Also, notice there wasn't much of an article. Seems to be more of what Paul wrote and the Star Tribune's own piece. On top of that, the tourney is not even over and poor So has to endure another negative article. On the bright side, the warrior came out victorious in a beautiful game with black pieces against the tough nut to crack Kamsky! I usually like to read ChessBase however and even bought a couple products in the past. Today, however, the so-called article was a complete bust. Lazy, even. Just sayin'.
DoctorMove DoctorMove 4/12/2015 07:50
The headline, "What is wrong with Wesley So?" is demeaning and well below your standard, Mr. Friedel.
GrayDuck GrayDuck 4/12/2015 07:15
Correction: The Star Tribune newspaper is not "from" Minnetonka, Minnesota. It is based in Minneapolis, the largest city in the state of Minnesota, and is the seventeenth-most-read newspaper in the United States. This article could lead readers to think that the Star Tribune is a tiny local newspaper.

This front-page story is remarkable because the Star Tribune rarely reports on chess. When it does report on chess, the story is normally buried in the variety section--which is probably not read by many subscribers. Even the report on So's move to Minnesota did not make the leap to the A section. This report might be the first front-page story on chess in the Star Tribune since a merger created the newspaper in 1982.
Van_Phanel Van_Phanel 4/12/2015 06:41
I do not feel to be in a position to comment on the actual issue at hand as I'm lacking information, even though it's a rather disturbing topic.

I would however like to echo on sacundim's sentiment on the title: Quote: "May I suggest that the title of this article be changed? I'm guessing the author's first language is not English, but I think it just doesn't come across very well in English."
Deep_Port Deep_Port 4/12/2015 06:40
"What's wrong with Wesley So?"

Nothing's wrong with Wesley. But something's definitely wrong with that title.

Wesley is clearly subject to various challenges and difficulties, just like every other human being. But performing a full-scale analysis on his current position, as if this is a problem for Fritz, comes across as inappropriate, disrespectful, and downright overkill. Give the guy a break.
Zirie Zirie 4/12/2015 06:24
Leave Wesley alone.
sxb103 sxb103 4/12/2015 06:02
I hope So can find a peaceful and supportive personal life. He needs it. It's pretty much impossible to be in top 10 with all this turmoil
Burgershirt Burgershirt 4/12/2015 05:16
Troung is a known chaos storm, dating back to his time with the USCF with the same Susan Polgar foundation. Escaping his influence is almost certainly a good move by So. But most likely he is surrounded by monsters, and hopefully he will transcend this melodrama.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Truong , among others.

It's a shame we all know about this now, though I'm sure we all have sympathy for him.
MarriedRhombus MarriedRhombus 4/12/2015 04:54
+1 BelowZero.
Oscar Lito M Pablo Oscar Lito M Pablo 4/12/2015 04:30
I suppose the problems with the mother and aunt began after Round 1, or AFTER those photos were taken, requiring Wesley So and/or his foster parents to ask the tournament organizers not to let them in the tournament halls.

As for Paul Truong --- who's been kicked out of the US Chess Federation board after apparently trying to destroy the reputation of a federation official -- feeling "sad and sorry for what he is going through right now and we all wish him the best", one word: RUBBISH.

But please, let's now stop these articles about Wesley So's private life. Let's read about his chess life and games.
geeker geeker 4/12/2015 04:05
First, I must remark that this type of tabloid coverage makes a very bad impression.
That said, danny_rayburn's statement "I can think of Wesley's main mistake and it wasn't writing notes during the game" is spot on! Regrettably, if the vile Truong is involved, all I can say is "Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate"...
Let's hope that no more will be publicly said of this matter, and that Mr. So's privacy will be respected.
charlesthegreat charlesthegreat 4/12/2015 03:20
Chessbase shoudl quit parading his personal life for the masses to salivate. Looks like he's recovered and beaten Kamsky, where's that more important chess news?
danny_rayburn danny_rayburn 4/12/2015 02:56
The forfeit decision was tough but just. Imagine sitting in Akobian's chair as your opponent makes notes to himself. The fact that the notes weren't analysis is irrelevant since So clearly wrote them to help his game.

As for Paul Truong, why do unsavory events occur on his doorstep as regularly as the sun rises? I can think of Wesley's main mistake and it wasn't writing notes during the game.
KevinC KevinC 4/12/2015 02:31
@Max Marzano, you clearly have not read the rules: 11.3 states, "a.During play the players are forbidden to use any notes, sources of information or advice, or analyse (sic) any game on another chessboard."

It is pretty clear that this constituted using a note, no matter how you want to spin it. His writing it was designed to help him since you mentioned "the spirit of the rule", and just because it was not analysis, that does not matter. As far as the "spirit' goes, you are wrong there too: If you can't even write your move down before playing it (this is also spelled out in the rules), since that is so basic to the game, it is clear that NO writing of any type is permitted.

Regardless, he was warned, and he did it again. This is only on So...he simply didn't listen.

http://www.fide.com/fide/handbook.html?id=171&view=article
sacundim sacundim 4/12/2015 02:29
May I suggest that the title of this article be changed? I'm guessing the author's first language is not English, but I think it just doesn't come across very well in English.
Teltow Teltow 4/12/2015 02:19
I find the application of this rule to So writing little encouraging notes to himself during a game a legalistic exercise, and the actions of Akobian to alert the tournament director and the subsequent forfeiture by the tournament director to be petty. Is this the image USCF and FIDE wish to project to the world at large? Do they wish to be seen as little tyrannies stationed by self important prima donnas? Chess is about friendly competition.
Captain Picard Captain Picard 4/12/2015 02:11
Me thinks Truong doth protest too much! I think Truong is a scumbag and he should be banned from chess.