Monday, May 25, 2009


MANILA, Philippines - GM Rogelio Antonio Jr. is headed to next year’s World Chess Cup.

The 47-year-old Antonio fought Chinese GM Zhou Weiqi of China to a quick draw in the 11th round of the 2009 Asian Continental individual chess championship in Subic to finish in a share of third place.

The truce was reached after only 12 moves of the Ruy Lopez but it was all Antonio needed to secure his rightful place in the World Chess Cup scheduled in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia on Nov. 20-Dec. 15.

The pride of Calapan, Oriental Mindoro finished with an 11-round total of 7.5 points on five wins, five draws and only one loss in this prestigious competition organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP).

“This is another memorable tournament for me. Except for my 10th-round setback, I think I played well overall," said Antonio, who duplicated the feat of GM Darwin Laylo as the only Filipino player to earn a berth to the World Chess Cup in 2007.

"Sana maging maganda din ang performance ko sa World Cup," added Antonio, who barely missed a berth in the 2007 World Cup after landing in a tie for eighth to 14th places in the previous edition held in Mandaue City.

Antonio’s success, however, turned out to be the only reason for celebration for the host Filipinos.

So, Torre falter

The country’s top two players – GM Wesley So and GM Eugene Torre – both went out with a big thud.

So, at 15 the country’s brightest hope for international recognition, suffered a heartbreaking setback to GM Le Quang Liem of Vietnam in 34 moves of another Sicilian.

And Torre, the country’s most-experienced player for more than four decades now, yielded to top seed GM Krishan Sasikiran of India in 44 moves of the Nimzo-Indian.

The twin setbacks left So (four wins, five draws and two losses) and Torre (five wins, three draws and three losses) with only 6.5 points, good for joint 15th.

GM Surya Shakhar Ganguly of India and GM Zhou Weiqi topped the 11-round tournament with identical scores of eight points.

Ganguly, one of 12 Indian players who saw action here, drew with GM Zhou Jianchao of China in only 16 moves of the Gruenfeld.

Ninth seed GM Hou Yifan of China and GM Parimarjan Negi of India also agreed to a draw in 27 moves of the Sicilian while GM Chanda Sandipan of India and Yu Shaoteng of China also split the point in 14 moves of the Catalan to book their places in the Top 10 and a spot in the World Chess Cup.

Also making it to the prestigious competition is Le, whose dramatic, final-round triumph over the second-seeded So provided the biggest story for the day.

The rest of the Filipino players did not fare any better. –GMANews.TV

No comments: