MANILA, Philippines â€“ Wesley So vaulted into No. 3 in the list ofÂ the world’s top junior players in theÂ newestÂ ratingÂ listÂ released by theÂ International Chess Federation (FIDE) for January 2011.
The 17-year-old Filipino championÂ raisedÂ hisÂ Elo rating by four points â€“ from 2669 to 2673 –Â to climbÂ to third placeÂ overallÂ behind GMs Fabiano Caruana of Italy and Anish Giri of the Netherlands.
CaruanaÂ is now on top of the list withÂ anÂ Elo 2771, replacing super GM Magnus Carlsen of Norway, who has left the junior category.
Giri, one of the few junior players with a plus record over So, isÂ now second with 2686.
So’s top Southeast Asian rival,Â GM Le Quang Liem of Vietnam, dropped to fourth place withÂ Â 2664. Le lost 25 points in the same period.
Also in theÂ list of Top 10 junior playersÂ in the world GMs Sebastian Feller of FranceÂ (2656), Anton Kovalyov of Argentina (2629), Eltaj Safarli of Azerbaijan (2629),Â Ivan Salgado Lopez of Spain (2626),Â Sana Sjugirov of Russia (2626) and MaximÂ Matlakov of Russia (2613).
GM Parimarjan Negi of India (2607) and GMsÂ Yu Yangyi (2607) and Hou Yifan (2602)Â occupy the next three places.Â
Overall, SoÂ also movedÂ into No. 64 in the world. He is only two points behind GM Vladimir Akopianof Armenia forÂ 63rd place and one point aheadÂ of GM Ernesto Inarkiev of Russia.
In the November 2010Â rating list of FIDE, So is ranked No.Â 9 in the junior category andÂ No. 73 in the world.
Previously, So’sÂ highestÂ rating wasÂ No. 60 in the world when he reachedÂ Elo 2674 during theÂ July 2010 period. He first broke the elite Top 100 listÂ — No. 92 –Â withÂ 2646Â inÂ July 2009.
In the list of top chess-playing countries, the Philippines is now No. 33 with an average ratingÂ of 2531, ahead ofÂ Asian rivals Vietnam, Iran, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia.
The Philippines now has 62 titled players, including 12 GMs andÂ 23 IMs.
National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) president/chairman Prospero â€œButchâ€ PichayÂ lauded So and other Filipino players forÂ their exceptional showing in the yearÂ just ended.
Pichay said So can easily breach the 2700 mark this year, judging from his superb play last year.
Newly-elected FIDE Southeast Asian zone presidentÂ and Tagaytay Mayor Abraham â€œBambolâ€ Tolentino also expressed confidence that Filipino players will perform even better in 2011.
So also kept his top spot in the list ofÂ leading Filipino players.
Four other Filipinos â€“ GMs Rogelio Antonio Jr.,Â Roland Salvador,Â John Paul Gomez and Mark ParaguaÂ â€“ also made significant improvements.
Antonio kept second place with 2589 â€“ up by 16 points from his previous Elo of 2573. HeÂ achieved his highest rating since becoming the country’s thirdÂ GM inÂ Baguio City in 1993. He is now ranked No. 254 in the world.