This is the woman behind Filipino-American grandmaster Wesley So

Sep 4, 2021
PHOTO: (Right) Qatar Masters/Twitter

(PEP.ph) Ang Filipino-American grandmaster na si Wesley So, 27, ang naging kampeon sa 2021 Grand Chess Tour (GCT) over-the-board tournament.

Ang tournament ay nagsimula sa Romania noong June 2021 at nagtapos sa U.S.A. noong August 26, 2021.

Pinataob ni Wesley ang top grandmasters sa buong mundo sa GCT 2021 edition. Isa na siya ngayong two-time winner sa GCT history. Una siyang nanalo noong 2016.

Ang kanyang premyo ay $100,000 o tumataginting na PHP4,988,000.

May kasabihang "behind every successful man is a strong woman."

Sa kaso ni Wesley, ang babaeng ito ay si Lotis Key-ang kanyang adoptive mother at manager.

Oo, si Lotis Key, ang sikat na Filipino-American actress noong '70s.

Bilang ina at manager, kasama palagi si Lotis sa mga tournament ni Wesley.

MORE FROM SPIN
MORE FROM SPIN

    Lotis Key as an actress

    Para sa mga Pinoy, hindi malilimutan si Lotis dahil sa kanyang maganda at maamong mukha.

    Nakilala siya nang husto dahil sa tambalan nila ng Comedy King na si Dolphy noong '70s.

    Continue reading below ↓

    Kabilang sa blockbuster movies nila ay ang Captain Barbell (1973), Fung Ku (1973), Facundo Alitaftaf (1978), Darna, Kuno? (1979), Max En Jess (1979), at Bugoy (1979).

    Continue reading below ↓
    Recommended Videos

    Kinilala rin ang husay niya sa pag-arte nang makakuha siya ng nominasyon sa FAMAS, bilang Best Suppporting Actress, sa mga pelikulang Dalawang Mukha ng Tagumpay (1974) at Ibigay Mo Sa Akin Ang Langit (1975).

    Continue reading below ↓

    Matapos ang isang dekadang pamamayagpag sa local showbiz, nagdesisyon si Lotis na iwan ang pag-aartista sa Pilipinas at lumipad sa Minnesota, U.S.A. noong 1986.

    Doon na siya nanirahan kasama ang kanyang asawang si Renato "Bambi" Kabigting, dating basketball player ng Ateneo Blue Eagles at Crispa Redmanizers.

    Tatlumpu't apat (34) na taon na silang kasal ngayon.

    Hindi tukoy kung kailan ang eksaktong birthday ni Lotis. Pero ayon sa isang blogspot, isinilang siya noong 1949 kaya nasa early 70s na ang kanyang edad.

    Her life in the United States

    Hindi tuluyang tinalikuran ni Lotis ang showbiz pagdating sa Amerika.

    Gayunpaman, nakapamuhay siya nang normal dahil walang nakakakilala sa kanya bilang artista.

    "I and my husband are born-again Christians, and I wanted to leave Manila to make a new start without any societal pressure," ani Lotis sa interview ng PEP.ph noong July 2012.

    Sa unang 12 taon niya sa U.S., naging professional actress siya at nag-focus sa industrial video, trade shows, TV commercials, theater, radio, narration, at iba pa.

    Continue reading below ↓

    Kasunod nito, nagtayo siya ng theatre company para sa Christian actors. Nagsulat at nag-produce ng plays na itinampok sa iba't ibang lugar sa U.S. at Canada.

    "I give seminars to churches on the 'how to' of developing Christian theater. We even visited some churches in the Philippines," ani Lotis.

    Makalipas muli ang labindalawang taon, tumigil si Lotis sa pag-arte at nag-focus sa pagsusulat ng novels. Siya ang author ng A Song for the Wild Place at A Thing Devoted.

    MORE FROM SPIN
    MORE FROM SPIN

      Pero paano ba nagkrus ang landas nila ni Wesley?

      Paano ito nauwi sa pag-ampon niya at pagiging manager ng batang grandmaster?

      Idinetalye ito ni Lotis sa exclusive interview niya sa ANCX noong December 2020 at sa two-hour Zoom interview nila ni Wesley sa Indian grandmaster na si Surya Sekhar Ganguly noong August 9, 2020.

      Ayon kay Lotis, may dalawa silang adopted children ng kanyang asawa na si Bambi.

      "Wesley is our last," sabi niya.

      Continue reading below ↓

      Sa isang family photo na nai-publish, makikita ang mag-asawang Lotis at Bambi, si Wesley, at ang "sister" niyang si Abbey.

      (Renato "Bambi" Kabigting, Lotis, Wesley So, and Abbey Key)

      Meeting Wesley So

      Sa edad na walong taon nagsimulang maglaro ng chess si Wesley. Kinakitaan siya agad ng potensiyal.

      Bandang 2010, noong 16 years old si Wesley, nagdesisyon ang kanyang pamilyang mag-migrate sa Canada.

      Continue reading below ↓

      Pero nagpaiwan ang binatilyo sa Pilipinas para hasain ang sarili sa larong chess.

      Noong 2012, nakatanggap si Wesley ng chess scholarship sa Webster University sa St. Louis, Missouri.

      Taong 2013 nang magkrus ang landas nila ni Lotis.

      "When we first met Wesley, he was about 18, 19," pagbabalik-tanaw ng dating leading lady ni Dolphy.

      "I instantly felt that this was not a happy boy. He seemed displaced, sort of vague in his life.

      "He didn't seem to know where he was going. It was not really my business, and we met him casually at a dinner."

      Pero hindi ito ang huling pagkakataong makikita nila si Wesley.

      Sabi ni Lotis, "But then he began to visit us. And when he visited us, he became almost a member of the family, which he became later, full member of the family."

      Inusisa ni Lotis ang binatilyo kung ano ang gusto nitong gawin sa kanyang buhay.

      Continue reading below ↓

      Lahad ng dating aktres, "I began to ask him, 'What is it that you want to do in your life?'

      "And he said, 'Well, I really like to play chess. But I don't think I'm good enough to get a career. Maybe I should be an accountant.'"

      Payo ni Lotis kay Wesley, "Why don't you take a risk and follow your heart's desire for two years? You can stay with us, quit school. Put 100 percent attention on this."

      At kung sa loob ng dalawang taon ay walang nangyari kay Wesley, babalik siya sa kolehiyo.

      Simula noon ay naging "adopted" son na ni Lotis si Wesley, pero "not legally" dahil nasa tamang edad na si Wesley noong makilala nila ito.

      (Lotis serves as the mother and manager of Wesley, which means she always tags along whenever he has a tournament.)

      Continue reading below ↓

      Sinuportahan daw ni Lotis ang pagnanais ni Wesley na magsanay nang husto sa chess.

      Paliwanag pa ni Lotis, mali ang pilitin ang isang bata na kumuha ng kursong ayaw nito.

      "You absolutely destroy this person's natural gift. And I don't really know if chess was his natural gift, I don't play chess, I don't know anything about chess.

      "But I felt, he should be given a chance. To see if it's his natural gifting. And if not, you go back to school.

      "And that was the option that I just offered. I said, 'We would support you if you decide to do this for two years. Find yourself, see if it's you.'

      "That's what he did. He was in top 10 and he kept rising, and he was able to support himself."

      Noong January 1, 2015, opisyal na pinasok ni Wesley ang pagiging professional chess player.

      "That was six years ago," ani Lotis.

      Continue reading below ↓

      At sa tagumpay na ipinapakita ngayon ni Wesley "it's established" na chess ang kanyang calling sa buhay.

      Lotis Key as a mother... and manager

      Sa lahat ng laban ni Wesley sa iba't ibang lugar ay nakabuntot si Lotis.

      Si Lotis ang umaasikaso ng logistics at lahat ng pangangailangan ni Wesley para makapag-concentrate ang anak-anakan sa bawat laban.

      Hindi raw ito madali, ani Lotis. Noon pa man, todo-ingat sila kahit bago pa magkaroon ng pandemya.

      Ang isang pagkakamali raw ay maaaring makaapekto sa laro ni Wesley sa tournament.

      Kuwento ni Lotis, "Every tournament we go through, there is always the risk.

      "Wesley has had food poisoning in St. Louis. There's always the risk of picking something up-a virus, a bug, a food poisoning...

      "Last U.S. championship, he had food poisoning for three days in the opening of the championship. We ate a sandwich in a local subway station.

      "All of these things and you worked so hard and one little thing can make everything go wrong.

      Continue reading below ↓

      "We are so careful. When we travel I have to disinfect... even before this [COVID-19] virus.

      "I was always disinfecting our seats in the plane, disinfecting the hotel room, making sure that I know where the food came from, where it's cooked, what's in it."

      Hindi raw gaya ng isang team sport, walang ibang sasalo sa isang chess player kapag nagkasakit ito.

      Lotis Key on her past as an actress

      Sa isang punto ng Zoom interview, nabanggit ang pagiging aktres noon ni Lotis.

      Pero tila iniwan na ni Lotis sa nakaraan ang yugtong ito ng kanyang buhay. Iyon daw ang mga panahong hinahanap pa niya ang kanyang sarili.

      "So long ago. It was nothing," pahayag ni Lotis.

      "It was a period of my youth. Late teenage [years], early 20s, when I was also exploring what to do with my life.

      "I had that kind of family where you explore what you want to do, try this, try that.

      Continue reading below ↓

      "I was not pushed in any direction, and perhaps that's where I get the idea you want to encourage your children, but not push them in the direction you want."

      Lotis Key was one of the popular leading ladies of the late Comedy King Dolphy.

      She has more than 60 adopted kids

      Bukod kina Wesley at Abbey, higit animnapu ang mga inampon nina Lotis at Bambi sa loob ng maraming taon.

      Continue reading below ↓

      "Over the decades, we have sent more than 60 to school," ani Lotis.

      "Not personally adopted in my home, but we have a ministry in the Philippines, my husband and I... And we would put children from grade school to college. And so, we did that for thirty years since I became a Christian."

      Bagamat hindi raw niya personal na nasubaybayan ang paglaki ng mga batang ito, naroon daw si Lotis para sa moral support.

      Saad niya, "It's was very, very fun, very rewarding... I didn't have to change any diapers but dealing with all the problems of kids in school... kids growing through puberty, maturing, things like that... was very interesting."

      Her thoughts on negative feedback

      Nang ampunin daw ni Lotis si Wesley, nakatanggap siya ng matinding batikos mula sa ibang tao. Pero hindi niya alam kung ano ang pinanggagalingan ng mga ito.

      Buti na lang daw at wala siyang social media accounts para mabasa ang mga ito.

      Continue reading below ↓

      "I don't have social media, neither does Wesley, except his Facebook page, which he doesn't... he just put his tournaments. We don't really read much. In the very beginning, yes, I was shocked," aniya tungkol sa matinding batikos sa kanya noon.

      Ang teorya ni Lotis: "Perhaps other people knew this. I didn't know it at that time that Wesley was one of the great players.

      "For me he was a boy, we have many boys pass our house, hundreds of kids, we have fostered through our church, through our community in the Philippines. He was one of those who I felt who needed some guidance, needed some love.

      "I didn't know he was going to be one of the great chess players of the world.

      "Now, maybe the people who were angry with us, for him making the decision to go professional knew that. And they lost money on it. I could not understand where the anger came from.

      Continue reading below ↓

      "And then in his personal situation, he had not seen his biological family for a long time. He was not really connected, he was already an adult."

      Patuloy ni Lotis, "We were the ones spending money.

      "Wesley had no money at that time. We were the ones supporting him, feeding him, housing him, just in the hope of giving him a chance to show himself.

      "And frankly, we didn't see this as a long-term thing. I thought we'll help this boy for six months, see him get on his feet.

      "But then things began to evolve and I saw that he needed more help.

      "I started organizing his logistics and things evolved from there.

      "But initially, this is just helping a boy over a rough patch in his life and find himself.

      "We don't actually read social media, we don't have Twitter, we don't even use cellphones.

      "So, the hate that may still be out there, I don't know, is actually missing us. We're not really getting it so... we don't have social media."

      Continue reading below ↓

      Para kay Lotis, ang Twitter ang isa sa pinakamasamang naimbento.

      "You know why? Your first thought is rarely a good thought, and yet Twitter allows you to put your very first reaction, your very first thought out for fifty billion to see.

      "And once it's out, you can never take it back. You can delete it, but you cannot take it back.

      "It's like that saying, 'Internet is written in ink, not in pencil.'

      "It's really bad manners to showing us your nasty evil side. Everybody has a nasty evil side, everybody...

      "But culture has taught us not to expose this."

      What else you need to know about Lotis Key

      Sa Internet ay may blogspot si Lotis, pero 2016 pa nang huli niya itong i-update.

      Dito, may iba pang description kay Lotis kung paano niya ginugol ang kanyang buhay sa mga nakalipas na taon.

      Nakalagay rito na nagbida siya sa higit 75 feature films sa Asian market at nagsilbing host sa maraming TV at radio programs.

      Continue reading below ↓

      "Upon settling in the United States, she signed with Chicago, New York, and Minneapolis based talent agencies, expanding into American on-camera and voice over narration, industrial videos, trade shows, theater, television and radio commercials."

      Bukod pa rito, "she raised horses in the Australian outback, skied the Alps, ran horse riding tours through a tropical jungle, bought & sold antiquities.

      "She's been a restaurateur, a breeder of show cats, a third-world church planter.

      "She's worked in an orphanage and run a ministry schooling homeless children.

      "As producer and artistic director, she founded a theater group called Messengers, and toured her productions across the United States, Canada, and Asia."

      This story originally appeared on . Minor edits have been made by the SPIN.ph editors.

      We are now on Quento! Download the app to enjoy more articles and videos from SPIN.ph and other Summit Media websites.

      Read Next
      Sorry, no results found for
      PHOTO: (Right) Qatar Masters/Twitter
    • POLL

      • Quiz

        Quiz Result