A few years ago, I met 21-year-old Filipino chess grandmaster, Wesley So, during a Meralco tournament where I was a participant. I found him friendly and accomodating. Currently, Wesley is one of the world’s youngest grandmasters, no. 2 in the U.S. where’s he’s based now, and potential contender to the World Chess Championship.
Recently, he was stopped continuing to play his game by an official arbiter during the U.S. championship. He lost the game by forfeit.
Wesley’s breaking of official rules multiple times, primarily via scribbling personal notes while playing, and doing the same in odd places when he’s home, is a psychological thing. So’s “repetition compulsion” may be unintentional on his part – it’s his “unconscious,” default-mode way of coping with overwhelming internal distress. Something underneath is fueling or driving it. What could that be?
Yesterday, I received hints of what could that be from Wesley’s FB open letter to his mother. Wesley said hurtful words to his Mom, such as: “Leny So, I was NOT HAPPY that you suddenly showed up in my life, unannounced, at the biggest tournament of the year, and that you came with Susan Leonard whom I hardly know. In the last six years I’ve only see you once a year for about a week, I hardly know you either … I am uncomfortable around you. You want me to respect you but you have never respected me. You left me when I was sixteen, telling me to become a man and find my life. Well I have found it, you just don’t like it.”
I feel sad about this for it has already gone public. Those of us, like myself, who are behind Wesley in his world chess campaign, may miss all the truths or details of the mother-son attachment injury and disconnection. What I know is, a prodigal was not a prodigal before he becomes a prodigal. Something must have wounded Wesley’s mind and heart over the years that so traumatize him. I also realize that most parents who have broken/insecure attachments with their children do love and care about their children. They’re simply unaware of the effects of their parenting on the emotional states of their children.