22 April 2010

Wesley So gets off to hot Asian chess start

Wesley So started hot in the 9th Asian Continental Chess Championships Wednesday, posting the first victory of the 9-round tournament at the Subic Exhibition Convention Center here.

The 16-year-old So, the country’s highest-ranked player with an ELO of 2665, took just 16 moves and less than an hour to trounce Vietnamese International Master Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son (ELO 2440) and grab the early lead in the 90-strong Open field.

So, who graduated from high school at the St. Francis of Assisi-Bacoor, recently, exploited a blunder by his rival, who had to resign under threat of losing two pawns.

According to So, who’ll skip college next year to concentrate on chess, he spent one month expanding his opening repertoire for this tournament organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines as qualifier for the 2011 World Cup set in Russia.

Other early winners included third seed HM Ni Hua of China, who beat Australian IM Aleksandar; Chinese GM Li Chao, who subdued compatriot Wan Yunguo; Chinese GM Zhou Weiqi, who whipped Filipino National Master Emmanuel Senador; and Indian GM Abhijeet Gupta, who defeated China’s Wang Li.

Meanwhile, Philippine Sports Commission chair Harry Angping gave the go-signal for NCFP president Prospero “Butch” Pichay to look for a foreign coach to guide So in his preparations for the Guangzhou Asian Games in November.

Angping said the PSC is willing to spend up to $3,000 a month for So’s preparation.(Philippine Daily Inquirer)