30 April 2010

So regains tie for lead, nears World Cup slot

Filipino Grandmaster Wesley So quickly got back on track Wednesday night, subduing Chinese upstart Yu Ruiyuan in the eighth and penultimate round to gain a share of the lead in the 9th Asian Individual Chess Championship at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center.

Derailed by a loss to former China national team captain Ni Hua late Tuesday, So played aggressively with black and went on to post his fifth victory after 58 moves of a Sicilian-Rossolimo variation.

The 16-year-old So climbed to 6.0 points in the company of Chinese GM Ding Liren and Indian GM Abhijeet Gupta, who opted for a quick draw in their board two tussle.

So only needs a draw on Thursday to earn one of the five 2011 World Chess Cup slots being dangled in the $50,000 tournament organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines.

Co-leaders Ni and fellow Chinese GM Li Chao, both with 5.5 points, are still locked in a tight battle at presstime.

Top seed Le Quang Liem of Vietnam continued his surge with a victory over Mongolian Bayatsaikhan Gundavaa.

The 19-year-old Le, the reigning Moscow Open and Aeroflot Open Group B titlist who boasts an ELO rating of 2689, improved to 5.5 points following his third win in the last four rounds.

Filipino GM Rogelio “Joey” Antonio was forced to halve the point with Chinese Wan Yanguo and virtually dropped his bid for a second straight World Cup stint.

Antonio, an 11-time Olympian, was at 5.0 points and even if he wins on Thursday the best probable outcome for him will be a playoff for the fifth and last World Cup seat. (Roy Luarca, Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Standings after 8 rounds:

6 – W. So (RP), J. Zhou (Chuna), L. Ding (China), A., Gupta (India) 5.5 – L.Q. Liem (Vietnam), S. Sethuraman (India), L. Chao (Chin)*, N. Hua (China)* 5 – R. Antonio (RP), K. Sasikiran (India), E. Ghaemmaghami (Iran), X. Deshun (China), S. Megaranto (Indonesia), A. Golizadeh (Iran), T. Bakre (India), B. Adhiban (India), Y. Yu (China), Y. Wan (China), N.T. Son (Vietnam), Z. Weiqi (China), R. Yu (China)