By Bev Llorente, ABS-CBN News North America

June 14, 2013

LAS VEGAS, Nevada – Grand Masters (GMs) from all over the world matched up their tactical moves for the top position at the annual Las Vegas International Chess Festival/National Open held at the Riviera Hotel and Casino.

Nineteen-year-old Filipino GM Wesley So showed off his strategic expertise as he topped this year’s Las Vegas National Open Championship.

A total of 91 chess players from all over the world competed this year, but So was the top seed in the six games for the main tournament.

Five GMs were tied for first at the finals of the tournament.

“It’s my first time in Vegas, and I like it very much because the tournament was very short. The main tournament only lasted for two days, unlike other tournaments that lasted almost a week,” said So.

So is a globe-trotter of chess, as he travels around the world to compete in various tournaments. He now ranks No. 40 in the World Chess Federation, but he still wants to step it up.

“There’s still a lot to learn for me. I still need to work harder, because there’s a lot of improvements needed. There’s always room for improvement,” So said.

So took home $2,175 in prize money and is scheduled to compete next month in the University Tournament, where he will represent Webster University.

Another Filipino-American GM, Enrico Sevillano, also competed in the Las Vegas tournament and took home $2,175.

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