Chess

Wesley So bags P11.8M, lands 12th among world’s top esports earners

Roy Luarca

CHAMPION. Wesley So reclaims the US Chess Championships crown in 2020.

File photo

Wesley So joins the world's top esports earners that include elite online chess players and gamers

Playing chess is Wesley So’s source of livelihood.

And based on a report posted by FIDE (World Chess Federation) the Cavite-born Grandmaster is earning enough to live well in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he’s now based.

According to betting site Unikrn.com, So, the Philippines’ top board player before switching to the US chess federation, bagged a total of $246,180 (P11,831,411) in tournament winnings for 2020, putting him at No. 12 among the world’s top esports earners.

World chess champion Magnus Carlsen is ranked No. 1 with $510,587 (P24,538,815) while Hikaru Nakamura, another Team USA mainstay, is at No. 7 with $324,645 (P15,602,439).

The 2nd up to the 6th spots are occupied by Call of Duty players.

So regained the US Chess Championships crown in 2020 to pocket $40,000; shared top spot with Carlsen in the Saint Louis Rapid $ Blitz Championship for $45,000; and then ruled the Skilling Open, the inaugural leg of the $1.5 million Champions Chess Tour, for $30,000.

In addition, So did well in other tournaments like the Speed Chess Championship where he advanced to the semifinals and the recent Airthings Masters, where he, Nakamura and Carlsen made the quarterfinals.

Unlike Carlsen and Nakamura, however, So has no other visible source of income.

Carlsen is backed by Unibet and is reportedly earning even more from sponsorships than from tournament play.

Nakamura has nearly 600,000 followers on his Twitch Channel and is the first chess player to be signed up by esports giant TSM.

No wonder So strives to improve his play. The better he gets, the more money he pockets. – Rappler.com

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