Antonio Books World Chess Cup Slot
By Emil C. Noguera, Correspondent
Sunday May 24, 2009
Grandmaster Rogelio Antonio Jr. settled for a draw with GM Zhou Weiqi of China in the 11th and final round of the 2009 Asian Continental individual chess championship Saturday at the Subic Exhibition and Convention Center.
The truce was reached after only 12 moves of the Ruy Lopez.
The draw secured Antonio his rightful place in the World Chess Cup scheduled in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia from November 20 to December 15.
The 47-year-old campaigner from Calapan, Oriental Mindoro finished with 7.5 points on five wins, five draws and only one loss.
“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,” said Antonio, who barely missed a berth in the 2007 World Cup after landing in a tie for eighth to 14th places in the previous eiditon held in Mandaue City.
Antonio’s success, however, turned out to be the only reason for celebration for the Filipinos.
The country’s top two players— GM Wesley So and GM Eugene Torre —went out with a big thump.
The 15-year-old So, 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, yieleded to top seed GM Krishan Sasikiran of India in 44 moves of the Nimzo-Indian.
The twin setbacks left So and Torre with only 6.5 points.
So, a high school student of St. Francis College (Bacoor), finished with 6.5 points on four wins, five draws and two losses.
Torre wound up with the same total on five wins, three draws and three losses.
GM Surya Shakhar Ganguly of India and GM Zhou Weiqi topped the 11-round tournamnet 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 points 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.