Monday, September 15, 2008

So leads charge of Filipino GMs

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 04:09:00 09/15/2008

image MANILA, Philippines--Grandmaster Wesley So, eager to make up for his lackluster showing in the recent PGMA Cup, hurdled his opening-day assignment to serve notice of his title aspirations in the 4th Prospero Pichay Cup international chess championship.

So made short work of International Master Aleksander Wohl of Australia in 42 moves of the Sicilian Dragon before a big crowd at the Duty Free Fiesta Mall in Parañaque City.

The 14-year-old high school student from St. Francis College Bacoor, who is set to breach the ELO 2600 mark next month, finished only 25th in the PGMA Cup won by GM Eugene Torre on Friday.

Torre begged off from participation at the last minute, saying he is still tired after his first major win in nearly five years.

“He (Wohl) made a weak knight move and I took advantage,” So, playing in his fifth international tournament in less than two months, said.

When the end came, So had three unstoppable queening pawns in a bishop versus knight endgame.

Three other Filipino GMs—Mark Paragua, Darwin Laylo and Buenaventura “Bong” Villamayor—also made successful debuts while IMs Petronio Roca and Ronald Bancod posted upset wins.

Paragua demolished NM Hamed Nouri in 40 moves of the Philidor while Villamayor outwitted WIM Irine Sukandar of Indonesia in 55 moves of the Queen’s Indian.

Laylo, a member of the Philippine team to the World Chess Olympiad in Dresden, Germany in November, crushed Jayson Salubre in a pair of all-Filipino matches.

Roca toppled No. 12 seed GM Konstantin Shanana of Uzbekistan in 58 moves of the Sicilian Dragon while Bancod stunned No. 14 GM Saidlali Iuldachev in 57 moves of the Pirc.

Top seed GM Murtas Kazhgaleyev of Kazkahstan whipped NM Ernesto Fernandez at the top board to lead the march of favorites in the nine-round tournament.

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