FILIPINO Grandmaster Wesley So, now ranked no. 6 in the world, will be back to defend the crown he won last year in the 2018 Tata Steel chess tournament.
Big challenges are in store for So, with reigning world champion and three-time Tata Steel winner, grandmaster Magnus Carslen of Norway around.
GM Fabiano Caruana of the United States and GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan, who are among the Ttop 3 players in the world, are also listed.
Action gets going Saturday in three different venues in the Netherlands, with the 10th and final round set on Jan. 28.
The 24-year-old So is seeded fourth.
Also playing are GM Vladimir Kramnik, GM Peter Svidler, GM Sergey Karjakin and GM Maxim Matlakov of Russia, GM Viswanathan Anand and GM Baskaran Adhiban of India, GM Anish Giri of the Netherlands, GM Wei Yi and GM Hou Yifan of China and GM Gawain Jones of Great Britain
Last year, So took the crown after collecting nine points on five wins and eight draws.
Carlsen was second with eight points, while Adhiban third with 7.5 points.
So is also set to join the 2018 Candidates Tournament on March 10 to 28 in Berlin, Germany.
Then, he is expected to be part of Team USA in the 2018 Chess Olympiad on Sept. 23 to Oct. 7 in Batumi, Georgia.