By U.S. News Agency / Asian

The world’s No. 3 ranked junior player and 64th according to the World Chess Federation (WCF)or FIDE quarterly ratings will compete in the much-stronger category-17 Group B where the average is 2657.

The highest FIDE rated Filipino, 16-year-old Grandmaster (GM) Wesley Barbasa, is raring to go back to the Netherlands where the Tata Steel Chess –formerly known as the Corus International Chess blasts off January 14 to 31 at the De Moriaan Community Centre in Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands.

The teenage genius So said he hopes to earn and upgrade his FIDE Elo rating of 2673 points in the Netherlands.

So is seventh-seed in the 14-player field where Czechoslovakia’s GM David Navara (2722), France’s GM Laurant Fressinet (2718) and Poland’s GM Radek Wojtaszek (2711) are the top participants.

“I know most of the players in Group B. They are all good and talented,” said So, who topped Group C two years ago with a 13-round total of 9.5 points on seven wins, five draws with a lone loss.

His long-time chess patron and main backer, Prospero “Butch” Pichay Jr., who is also the President/Chairman of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) expressed confidence that the Cavite-based youngster will perform well in the tough annual event.

“I am confident that So will be able to hurdle the odds in one of the toughest competition in Europe and the world as well,” said Pichay who also heads the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA). (Reported By Lily O Ramos)