Mark Paragua Wins PSC Chess, Pockets $6,000; Wesley So spearheads Philippine campaign in Asian Zone 3.3 Chess Championship in Tagaytay City
By Marlon Bernardino
Sun, 20 Jan 2013
GRANDMASTER Mark Paragua, the 6th Philippines International Grandmaster (2605), the former Philippines’ no.1 chess player, and the first Filipino to breached the super GM status at 2600+ mark, won the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Cup International Chess Championships, in an impressive fashion on Sunday at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium, Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila.
The Tondo, Manila born Paragua, a former Southeast Asian Games most bemedaled athlete, settled for a truce with 12-time national open champion GM Rogelio 'Joey' Antonio Jr. after 31 moves of Sicilian defense to score 7.5 points in nine outings and captured the coveted title.
With his latest feat, Paragua received the top prize paycheck of US$6,000 in the US$30,000 SMART-sponsored nine Round-Swiss tournament, hosted by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) headed by it's Chairman Ricardo Garcia and organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) headed by it's Chairman / President Prospero A. Pichay Jr. , Secretary-General and Tagaytay City Mayor Abraham 'Bambol' Tolentino Jr. and Executive Director Jayson Gonzales.
GM John Paul Gomez edged FM Haridas Pascua after 37 moves of another Sicilain skirmish to score 7.0 points, the same output of Pascua. Gomez and Pascua, split the combined prize worth US$7,000 for second and third placers.-Marlon Bernardino-
In another development, local fans will surely be delighted when Super GM Wesley So heads the list of cast in the Asian Zone 3.3 Chess Championship on Jan. 22 to 30 at Tagaytay International Convention Center.
Mayor Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino Jr. will host the event for the second time in his capacity as president of Asian Zone 3.3.
“The city will make sure that all participants, especially the foreigners, will enjoy their stay here (Tagaytay),” said Tolentino, also the secretary general of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines, who drew praises from foreign delegations for the smooth running of the 2011 edition won by Indonesian Grandmaster Susanto Megaranto.
“Wesley arrived Saturday and is raring to bring pride and joy to his countrymen,” he added.
Other than the cash prizes, participants will be vying for two slots to the World Chess Cup 2013 slated in Tromso, Norway, from Aug. 10 - Sept. 5.
Megaranto will be back to defend his title against a strong field to be led by top Filipino GM So, who took a break from his studies in the United States to seek another stint in the biennial World Cup.
Joining So to carry the good fight for the Filipino are GM Mark Paragua, who is fresh from winning the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Cup International Chess Championships on Sunday, 12-time national open champion GM Rogelio 'Joey' Antonio Jr., GM Richard Bitoon, GM Eugene Torre and GM Darwin Laylo.
Also expected to contend for the men’s crown are the Vietnamese and the Indonesians.
The top lady performer will advance to the Women’s World Championship in September.
GM Paragua placed second to Megaranto in 2011 and also advanced to the World Cup.
Singaporean International Li Ruofan ruled the distaff side and represented the zone in the Women’s World Championship.
Thus far, GM Oliver Barbosa is the only Filipino assured of a slot to the World Cup after placing fifth in the Asian Chess Championship held in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, last May.-Marlon Bernardino-
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