30 April 2010

Wesley So settles for 2nd, earns World Cup slot

Filipino Grandmaster (GM) Wesley So made a quick draw over Chinese GM Zhou Jianchao in the final round of the 9th Asian Individual Chess Championships on Thursday to secure a seat in the 2011 Chess World Cup in Khanty-Mansiyk, Russia.

So split the point with Zhou in 14 moves of the Berlin Opening or less than 10 minutes of play to finish in a tie for 2nd to 5th places at the Subic Exhibition and Convention Center in Subic, Olongapo City.

“I’m happy to make it to the World Cup again,” said So. “I really wanted to finish the tournament unbeaten, but I committed a slight mistake and he (Ni) was quick to capitalize.”

So finished with 6.5 points on 5 wins, 3 draws and 1 loss in the 9-round tournament organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP). He, thus, earned one of the 5 slots for the World Chess Cup.

GM Ni Hua of China, who dealt So his only defeat during the 7th round on Tuesday, topped the tournament with 7 points. He took home the top prize of $6,000.

Ni also quickly drew with GM Abhijit Gupta of India in the final round.

Joining Ni and So in the Chess World Cup are Gupta, Zhou and GM Le Quang Liem of Vietnam, who also tallied 6.5 points. So, Gupta, Zhou and Le each received $3,625.

Le clinched the 5th and last berth to the World Chess Cup by defeating GM Liren Ding of China.

Biggest revelation

The biggest revelation in the Asian Chess event was national junior standout Jan Emmanuel Garcia, who beat GM Saleh Salem of the United Arab Emirates to finish as the second best Filipino performer with 5.5 points.

The incoming 3rd year Ateneo de Manila high school student finished 17th overall.

The 14-year-old Garcia, a mainstay of the V. Luna Chess Club, also earned an International Master (IM) norm for his showing in the tough, 95-player tournament which had 32 Filipino participants.

GM Rogelio Antonio, Jr., meantime, settled for a draw with Xiu Deshun of China to finish with 5.5 points just like Garcia.

Antonio finished with 2 wins and 7 draws and wound up 21st after the tiebreak. He and Garcia pocketed $820 each.

IM Oliver Dimakiling trounced GM Eugene Torre, GM Darwin Laylo drew with Chinese Wang Li, GM John Paul Gomez halved the point with Vietnamese GM Dao Thien Hai, and IM Oliver Barbosa downed Chinese Chen Wang to lead a big group of players with 5 points.

Women’s game

In the women’s division, woman Grandmaster (WGM) Atousa Pourkashiyan bagged the title with a nine-round total of 7 points. She earned $3,000.

Pourkashiyan, seeded 12th in the 24-player field, drew with 2nd seed WGM Zyongyi Tan of China.

IM Wang Yu of China and woman FIDE Master (WFM) Ding Yixin of China shared 2nd to 3rd places with 6.5 points.

Top seed Wenjun Ju of China, meanwhile, finished with 5 points.

Dresden Olympiad veteran Christy Lamiel Bernales toppled compatriot woman International Master (WIM) Beverly Mendoza to emerge as the top Filipina scorer with 4.5 points. She received $367.

Aices Salvador bowed to WIM Thi Nhu Hoang of Vietnam to finish with 4 points. She took home $300.

Akiko Charmaine Suede finished with 2 points while Mendoiza made 1.5 points.

FIDE General Secretary Ignatius Leong and NCFP president Prospero “Butch” Pichay, Jr. awarded the trophies and cash prizes to the top finishers. They were assisted by SBMA administrator Armand Arreza, FIDE delegate Toti Abundo, NCFP executive/events director Willie Abalos and chief arbiter Merhdad Pahlevanzadeh.

The 2010 Asian Individual Chess Championships was also supported by the Philippine Sports Commission, Department of Tourism, PCSO, PAGCOR and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority. (Marlon Bernardino, Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Final standings:

7 points – H. Ni (China)

6.5 points – W. So (RP), A, Gupta (India), J. Zhou (China), L.Q. Liem (Vietnam)

6 points – Y. Yu (China), C. Zeng (China), L. Ding (China), C. Li (China), Y. Wan (China), P. Sethuraman (India), W. Zhou (China)

5.5 points – R. Yu (China), A. Golizadeh (Iran), T. Bakre (India), K. Sasikiran (India), J. Garcia (RP), S. Megaranto (Indonesia), E. Ghaemmaghami (Iran), N.N. Truong Son (Vietnam), R. Antonio (RP), D. Harika (India) , P. Harikirshna (India), D, Xiu (China), Z. Zhang (Singapore), D. Khamrakulov (Uzbekistan), Y. Wen (China)