Friday, January 26, 2007

Senador, Le Quang Liem win; Topalov leads

By Frank “Boy” Pestaño

A LOT of people were surprised when IM Manny Senador won the just concluded Sinulog Open chess tournament sponsored by Rep. Prospero Pichay of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) and Bogie Lim of Rose Pharmacy. I was not though, as I am familiar with his chess playing ability.

Manny is a three-time Olympian having played for the country in 1992, 1996 and 2004. He won the La Union Open in 2002 and was a member of the National Inter-cities team champion in 2006 and was the top scorer in the 2005 Bangkok Blitz International tournament. He is a pure bisaya , born in Jaro, Iloilo and a Philippine Air Force chess team member.

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He is also a regular guy, as after the tournament he treated close friends to a generous supply of beer and pulutan at Bibo`s and Handuraw Café in Mabolo.

In the tournament, Manny scored 7.5 points with 6 wins and 3 draws. Six players tied for second with 7 points each namely Chito Garma (43.2 tiebreaks points),Efren Bagasmabad (42.7),Barlo Nadera (42.4), Rhobel Legaspi (41.9), Richard Bitoon (40.8) and Anyhony Makiniano (40.7).

Senador won P50,000, a significant amount by local standards. Total prize money awarded in this tournament was a whooping P200,000. Since Rep. Pichay took over as president of the NCFP, great things have been happening to chess.

Vietnam. It is now official—Vietnam is superior to the Philippines in the Asean region as far as chess is concerned and I may add in economic and political stability.

The Fide sanctioned Asian Zone 3.3 championship just finished in Vietnam last week and the two qualifiers to the world knockout championship are Le Quang Liem and Nguyen Ngoc Truongson ,both of Vitnam.

GM Nelson Mariano almost made it but was held to a draw by FM Cegmed Batchuluun of Mongolia in the final round.

There was actually a four-man tie after the regular games but Mariano lost to GM Troungson in the play-offs after drawing both his games to GMs Dao Thien Hai and Nguyen Anh Dung, Le, 15, won the tournament with 6 wins and 3 draws. The other qualifier Truongson is also only 16 yrs old. Vietnam’s leading players have a long way to go.

The other Filipinos who played in this important tournament were Eugene Torre (4.5), Mark Paragua (5), Oliver Dimakiling (5), Darwin Laylo (5), Ronald Dableo (5).

Three other pinoys namely Wesley So, Rogelio Antonio and Hamed Nouri all settled for draws in their final game and missed the play-offs by half a point. All 3 scored 5.5 pts each.

Wijk Aan Zee. As expected, Topalov and Kramnik are slowly showing their class in the biggest tournament of the year, Corus 2007, after being dominated in the early rounds by the young lion, Teimour Radjabov. Anand has been a disappointment though, having lost to both Topalov and Kramnik.

Topalov, Kramnik and Aronian are still unbeaten while Shirov and Carlsen will surely lose a lot of ELO points here due to their dismal performance so far.

Standing after 9 rounds: 1. Topalov, Veselin g BUL 2783 6.5; 2. Radjabov, Teimour g AZE 2729 6.0; 3. Aronian, Levon g ARM 2744 5.5; 4. Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2766 5.5; 5. Svidler, Peter g RUS 2728 5.5; 6. Anand, Viswanathan g IND 2779 5.0; 7. Karjakin, Sergey g UKR 2678 5.0; 8. Ponomariov, Ruslan g UKR 2723 4.5; 9. Navara, David g CZE 2719 4.0; 10. Motylev, Alexander g RUS 2647 3.5; 11. Tiviakov, Sergei g NED 2667 3.5; 12. Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2690 3.0; 13. Van Wely, Loek g NED 2683 3.0; 14. Shirov, Alexei g ESP 2715 2.5.
There are still 4 rounds left to play.

Cepca news. The January tournament of the club will be this coming Tuesday, the 30th, at the Bibo Chess club starting at 6 p.m.

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