It has been almost three months since the last FIDE-rated event was staged in the country. After the conclusion of the 4th Pichay Cup in September, all the activity in the local live ratings resulted from games played abroad. Hopefully the local federation will come up with a more evenly laid out tourney sked for 2009.

Looking at where it stands now, the FIDE rating list for January next year is set to confirm Wesley’s status as the highest ever rated Philippine player. It should be fairly manageable for him to slip into the top 100 in the early half of 2009 and a modest goal of reaching the top 50 (at around 2660 ELO) before 2010, although it wouldn’t surprise me if he  scales the  2700  plateau before his 16th birthday.

Elevated to grandmaster status were two players (Gonzales and Gomez) and with the current pool of title-hungry talent we have (Kim Steven Yap has just beaten second seed Chinese GM Zhao Jun in the first round of the 2008 Singapore Master as of this posting), more are expected to fulfill the norm in 2009.

The chess leadership should keep the momentum going, continue churning out local events and facilitate international exposure among the masters.