TAGAYTAY CITY, Philippines — The Philippines’ top chess player, Super Grandmaster (GM) Wesley So, opened his campaign in the Asian Zone 3.3 Chess Championship with a convincing, 28-move win over Rustum Tolentino of Cagayan de Oro City (ELO 2364) late Tuesday at the Tagaytay International Convention Center, here.
The 19-year-old Bacoor, Cavite native So, the country’s highest-ranked player and the tournament’s top seed with an Elo rating of 2682, took a break from his studies at Webster University in the United States to compete in the event.
So, ranked 66th in the world, was still playing GM Eugene Torre of Quezon City (ELO 2485) in the second round held late yesterday afternoon.
Torre, Asia’s First Grandmaster, won via default over National Master Michael Gotel of Quezon City (ELO 2161).
In other second round matches, US-based GM Rogelio ‘Banjo’ Barcenilla Jr. (ELO 2483) defeated NM Rolando Andador of Talisay, Negros Occidental (ELO 2326) after 53 moves of Slav defense to meet second seed Super GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son (ELO 2631) in the next round. Son beat FM Rudin Hamdani of Indonesia (ELO 2357) after 49 moves of French defense.
Fide Master Haridas Pascua (ELO 2386), topped countryman Sarangani Usman (unrated) after 36 moves of Pirc defense to face defending champion GM Susanto Megaranto of Indonesia (ELO 2529) who downed FM Tran Tuan Minh of Vietnam (ELO 2306) after 37 moves of Queens Indian defense.
Other Filipino Grandmasters who won their opening games include 12-time national open champion Rogelio ‘Joey’ Antonio Jr. of Calapan, Oriental Mindoro (ELO 2541), PSC International chess champion Mark Paragua (ELO 2519) of Bulacan and Darwin Laylo (ELO 2491) of Marikina Cty.
Antonio defeated IM-elect Edgar Reggie Olay of Kidapawan City (ELO 2353) after 41 moves of Sicilian-Alapin; Paragua crushed Manny Yu of GMA, Cavite (ELO 2274) in 44 moves of Sicilian defense while Laylo nipped FM Sumiya Bilguuun of Mongolia (ELO 2213) after 35 moves of Slav defense.
GM BITOON LOSES
Meanwhile, GM Richard Bitoon of Cebu (ELO 2411) lost to Ben Polao of Mindanao (ELO 2091) after 47 moves of another Sicilian skirmish while GM John Paul Gomez of Binan, Laguna (ELO 2520) drew with youthful Yeoh Li Tian of Malaysia (ELO 2278) after 51 moves of a Slav duel.
Top matches which ended in draws include; IM Farid Firman Syah of Indonesia (ELO 2338) vs. GM Dao Thien Hai of Vietnam (ELO 2531), IM Nguyen Van Huy of Vietnam (ELO 2504) vs. FM Mari Joseph Turqueza (ELO 2256), Nelson ‘Elo’ Mariano III (ELO 2251) vs. IM Nguyen Doc Hoa of Vietnam (ELO 2495), FM Paulo Bersamina (ELO 2206) vs. Vietnamese GM Cao Sang (ELO 2488) and Dr. Alfredo Paez (ELO 2151) vs. IM Rolando Nolte (ELO 2460).
In women’s action, Philippine representatives WIM Catherine Perena, WFMs Rulp Ylem Jose and Mary Antoinette San Diego, Bernadette Galas and Mary Grace Tambasen all lost their first round matches.