So climbs to No. 60 overall in FIDE world list

PNS — THERE’S no stopping GM Wesley So.

So continued his meteoric rise in the world chess hierarchy when he vaulted to 60th place overall in the list of the world’s top 100 players with an ELO of 2674 based on the newest ratings released by the International Chess Federation (FIDE) for the month of July.

The 16-year-old pride of Bacoor, Cavite, who holds the distinction as the world’s seventh youngest player to earn the elusive GM title, gained nine points during the third Phoenix Petroleum- Battle of GMs national chess championships held in Tagaytay City and the 9th Asian Continental men’s individual championships in Subic to improve his ELO rating points.

The Filipino champion was ranked 64th with an ELO of 2665 in the previous quarterly rating period.

So, who is scheduled to compete in another major chess tournament in Netherlands later this month, is also ranked seventh in the world in the 20 years old and under category and No. 2 in Asia in the same category.

In the world juniors, So is behind only GM Magnus Carlsen (ELO 2826) of Norway, GM Sergey Karjakin (ELO 2747) of Russia, GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (ELO 2723) of France, GM Ian Nepomniatchi (ELO2706) of Russia, GM Fabaino Caruana (ELO 2697) of Italy and GM Le Quang Liem (ELO 2681) of Vietnam.

So is also only 11 points behind GM Alexander Motylev of Russia (ELO 2685) for No. 50 in the world. He is one point behind GM Kiril Georgiev of Bulgaria for 59th place.

“This year, my immediate goal is surpass the ELO 2700 barrier and possibly make it to the Top 50 of the world,” said So, who skipped college this year to concentrate on his chess career.

National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) president/chairman Prospero “Butch” Pichay expressed confidence that So will attain his goal this year.

“There’s no doubt that Wesley will attain his goal of breaking the ELO 2700 mark this year, especially during the coming World Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia,” said Pichay.

Twelve-time National Open champion GM Rogelio Antonio Jr. keeps second place behind So in the local list with ELO of 2775, followed by GM John Paul Gomez with ELO of 2527.

In fourth place is GM Darwin Laylo with ELO of 2522.

Completing the Top 10 Filipino players are IM Roland Salvador, fifth with ELO of 2498, Asia’s first GM Eugene Torre, sixth with ELO of 2489; GM Joseph Sanchez, seventh with ELO of 2479; GM Mark Paragua, eighth with ELO of 2476; IM Julio Catalino Sadorra, ninth with ELO of 2473; and IM Oliver Barbosa, 10th with ELO of 2458.

Overall, the Philippines is now ranked No. 35 in the world with an average rating of 2517 points, four points ahead of Vietnam.

Carlsen remains as world’s leading player with ELO 2826, followed by GM Veselin Topalov (ELO 2803) of Bulgaria, GM Viswanathan Anand (ELO 2800) of India, GM Vladimir Kramnik (ELO 2790) of Russia and GM Levon Aronian (ELO 2783) of Armenia.

Hungarian Judith Polgar is still the No.1 female player with an ELO of 2682, followed by Humpy Koneru (ELO 2600) of India, Hou Yifan (ELO 2577) of China, Tatiana Kosintseva (ELO 2562) of Russia and .Antoaneta Stefanova (ELO 2560) of Bulgaria.