Friday, August 15, 2008

Wesley So, so far, so good

By Frank 'Boy' Pestaño

BOY wonder GM Wesley So, 14, who is considered the strongest Pinoy chess player now, is competing in the on-going World Junior Championship in Gaziantep ,Turkey from Aug. 2-16 together with NM Haridas Pascua, who is also 14 years old.

The boys section, for those 20 years and under, has attracted 22 GMs, 22 IMs AND 15 FMs totaling 109 players from 60 countries.

The Top 5 seeds are Rauf Mamedov (2627, Azerbaijan), Maxim Rodstein (2605, Israel), Dmitry Andreikin (2604, Russia), Victor Ladnicka (2601, Czechoslovakia) and David Baramidze (2593, Germany). Wesley, with 2577, is seeded No.11.

The top seeds have been ambushed in this tournament, a sign of the strength for the participating players. After five rounds, the co-leaders are Li Chao China and David Howell England with 4.5 points. Figuring in a seven-way tie at second place with identical four points were Le Quang Lie of Vietnam, Hou Yifan of China, Eltaj Sabarli of Azerbaijan, Kiril Stupac of Belarus, Ivan Popov of Russia, Braun Arik of Germany and Lin Chin of China.

Hou Yifan? Isn’t she a girl ? Yes, she is and only 14! I don’t recall a girl playing in the boys’ section ever. She has a rating of 2557 and is seeded No.16.

Wesley has 3.5 points with two wins and three draws in a tie with 15 other players. He won over Djuraev Sokhib of Turkey, drew with Sengupta Deep of India, defeated Boros Denes of Hungary and tied Manuel Hoyos of Mexico and Alejandro Ramirez of Costa Rica. He was playing Melkunyan Hrant of Armenia in the sixth round yesterday.

Haridas Pascua had a disappointing two points but should finish in the mid-section. The competition follows a 13- round Swiss format.

There has been a dramatic announcement: Wesley and Eugene Torre will face off in a P1 million Dream Match ! Details will be posted later.

CHESS RESULTS. On the national scene, the classic encounter dubbed as the QC Chess road show ended in a draw between GMs Eugene Torre and Joey Antonio. Joey won the first game and the fourth, while Eugene managed to equalize by winning the third and fifth games.

They decided not to play the decisive seventh game and equally shared the reported pot of P200,000.

The toughest women’s tournament in history, the North Urals Cup, which is on its third staging, was won by former World Champion(2004) Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria with three wins and three draws and a single loss to finish with 4.5 points.

Tied for second with 4.0 were Anna Ushenina Ukraine and Marie Sebag of France.

CEPCA BLITZ OPEN. It will be held tomorrow at the Opascor Office in the Reclamation area, Benedicto St. starting at 1:30 p.m. The format is seven-round Swiss and time control is five minutes for class A players, 10 minutes for class B and 15 minutes for class C. The total pot is P9,000. The registration fee is pegged at P100 for the main group and P40 for the

The junior players will join the main group while the kiddies will have a separate contest of their own.

This is a joint effort of Cepca honorary members Bombi Aznar and Boojie Lim, President Renato Casia, membership chairman Ben Dimaano, tournament chairman Joe Atillo, Chessmoso, Jongjong Melendez, Mandy Baria, Maggi Dionson,Nicnic Climaco,Fabio Abucejo, Ogie Reyes, Gerry Ouano, Jun Olis, Jojo Muralla, Mon Tapia. Felix Balbona and Boy Gallardo.

On Sunday, Aug. 10, balikbayan chess player, Jojo Dondon, is also sponsoring a Blitz Tournament with a 15-minute time control. The tourney is known as the Alfonso Dondon Memorial Chess Open Tournament. The event will be held at the Colonade Chess Club with P100 registration fee and starts at 10 a.m.

Jojo and his wife Rose are residents of Mcallen, Texas, USA.

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