Wesley Barbasa So is a Filipino-American chess grandmaster and a former chess prodigy. So's Facebook Page.
In October 2008, So became the youngest player to break the 2600 Elo barrier, breaking the record previously held by Magnus Carlsen. In early 2013, So broke into the "elite" with a 2701 FIDE rating after winning the Reykjavik Open.
So was born in 1993; both his parents are accountants. He attended the Jesus Good Shepherd School and went on to St. Francis of Assisi College.
At age 6 his father taught him to play chess and was 9 when he started to compete in junior tournaments. As a junior player, So won the Philippines U-10s Championship in 2003 and various sections of World Youth Chess Championships.
So made his tournament debut at the Nice International Open in August 2005, finishing in shared eighth place with 5/7. He also completed three IM norms in the space of four months, becoming the youngest Filipino to achieve that status.
So got his second GM norm at the 2007 World Junior Chess Championship in Yerevan. He achieved his third and final Grandmaster norm in December 8, 2007 at the Pichay Cup International Open (Manila, Philippines), thus becoming the youngest Filipino grandmaster at the age of 14.
January 2008 saw So finish fourth with 7/11 at the ASEAN Chess Circuit event held in Tarakan, Indonesia. In April 2008 So shared first place at the Dubai Open, scoring 7/9. He also finished in third place with 7/9 at a blitz tournament held during the rest day. So then defeated Susanto Megaranto 4-2 in a six-game match as part of the JAPFA Chess Festival held in Jakarta, won the "Battle of Grandmasters tournament" with 8½/11 (+6 =5 -0) in Manila, came tenth with 7.5/11 in the Philippines Open followed immediately with second place at the Subic Open with 6.5/9.
At the age of 16, So became one of the stories of the 2009 Chess World Cup held in Khanty-Mansiysk after progressing to the fourth round before being knocked out by Vladimir Malakhov after rapid
In 2012, So began full-time study at Webster University in St. Louis under the SPICE program, founded by former women's world champion Susan Polgar.
As a young player, his aggressive and tactical style of play caught the attention of former Philippine chess champion, Rodolfo Tan Cardoso. Cardoso said, "The young lad...would sacrifice a queen or any other pieces in his arsenal to get a winning attack." Also, according to Cardoso, "He cannot afford decent training given by well known GM-coaches and has to rely on his pure talent...before competing."
So commented during an interview with Alina l'Ami in 2009 "So far I play aggressively. I would like to play a solid game with a solid opening. This is what I want. I think my style is close to Vishy Anand. Of course we have different level. His current FIDE rating is 2755 placing him number 14 among active players.