MANILA, Philippines — Filipino Grandmaster (GM) Wesley Barbasa So will return to 64-square board action as the much-awaited Tata Steel Chess, formerly known as “Corus International Chess”, gets underway January 14 to 31 at the De Moriaan Community Centre in Wijk aan Zee, The Netherlands.
"I hope to earn ELO rating points," said So, world's junior rank No. 3 with an ELO FIDE rating of 2673, about The Netherlands chess tournament.
So, ranked No. 64 chess player in the world, according to the January 1 (World Chess Federation) FIDE quarterly ratings, will compete in the much-stronger category-17 Group B where the average rating is ELO 2657.
"I know most of the players in Group B. They are all good and talented," added So, who topped Group C two years ago with a 13-round total of 9.5 points on 7 wins, 5 draws and 1 loss.
Long-time chess patron Prospero "Butch" Pichay Jr., main backer of So, also the president and chairman of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines said he is very confident that his ward will perform well in this tough annual event.
So is seeded 7th this year in the 14-player field where GM David Navara (CZE/2722), GM Laurant Fressinet (FRA/2718), GM Radek Wojtaszek (POL/2711) are the top participants.
Meanwhile, the other Group B participants are:
- GM Le Quang Liem (VIE/2694);
- GM Zahar Efimenko (UKR/2683);
- GM Gabriel Sargissian (ARM/2677);
- GM Luke McShane (ENG/2657);
- GM Surya Ganguly (IND/2650);
- GM Li Chao (CHN/2633);
- GM Jon Ludvig Hammer (NOR/2633);
- GM Vlad Tkachiev (FRA/2632);
- GM Friso Nijboer (NLD/2582); and
- GM Wouter Spoelman (NLD/2538).
— By Marlon Bernardino