Friday, March 4, 2011

Joseph Sanchez wins Cannes festival

THE 25th International Open “Pierre et Vacances” took place from Feb. 21 to 27 in Cannes, France.

Sixty-four players, including 17 GMs, competed in the nine-round Swiss event, which had a 10,000-Euro prize fund with the champion taking home 2,200 Euros.

Cebuano GM Joseph Sanchez surprised everybody, including himself, by claiming first with seven points. Sanchez was only seeded 15th before the start of the tournament, but played in excellent form and led the standings throughout the event. He also won this event in 2009, thereby bagging his third and final norm to become the first Cebuano grandmaster.

Sanchez, playing black, defeated Italian GM Sabino Brunello after 33 moves of English Opening in the ninth and final round.

Final standings:

1: 7 points GM Joseph Sanchez (PHL, 2516); 2 to 6: 6.5 GM Michael Roiz (ISR 2649), IM Xavier Vila Gazquez (ESP, 2488), GM Christian Bauer (FRA, 2633), GM Evgeny Romanov (RUS, 2606) and GM Andrey Sumets (UKR, 2619);7-8: 6 points GM Alberto David (LUX, 2580) and GM Vlad-Cristian Jianu (ROU, 2539).

National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) president Prospero Pichay Jr. lauded Sanchez’s latest feat saying, “He deserves this… I’m really happy for him .This
proves once again that the Filipino can be at par with the world’s best woodpushers.”

Here is the report by our budding 13-year-old sports journalist KC Morala, who is also an excellent chess player.

“Held in the Elizabeth Mall Activity Center last weekend was Cebu City’s very first major tournament in years--the Cebu City Charter Day Open Chess Tournament. The three-day event fascinated scores of chess enthusiasts, which attracted the world’s seventh-youngest Grandmaster, Wesley So, and also other GMs, IMs, FIDE Masters and NMs from
all over the country.”

Though he tied with GM So with a score of 8 points, GM Gomez won in the tiebreak, and was acknowledged champion with GM So as the first runner-up. Both sides split the P150,000 prize money.

Catching up, the 7.5 pointers were IM Chito Garma, GM Darwin Laylo, IM Ronald Dableo, and IM Richard Bitoon.

Meanwhile, GM Rogelio Antonio, along with NM Reggie Olay, Jayson Salubre, FM Anthony Makinano, NM Rodrigo Atotubo, NM Joel Fernan, FM Sander Severino, NM Rhobel Legaspi, Redentor Nailon, and Voltaire Sevillano, shared the seventh to the 16th places with 7 points.

GM So drew with IM Bitoon in the 5th round and with GM Gomez in the sixth round, both games featuring the Sicilian Defense with So playing Black.

GM Gomez also settled for a draw against IM Dableo in a Semi-Slav Defense opening.

A total of 156 players took part in the nine-round tournament, many of whom came from various parts of the country. For Cebu, it must have been a great honor to sponsor such a big event like this.

With chess players thirsty for more, Cebu City will yet again hold another tournament to break Russia’s record for the largest board game tournament with 1,214 participants in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Cebu City Sports chairman Ed Hayco and Sportsman of the year Boojie Lim are targeting a record attendance of a mind-blowing 4,000 players for the record attempt.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 04, 2011.

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