Filipino woodpushers show wares in Hong Kong Open
Filipino woodpushers show wares in Hong Kong Open
Deniel Causo, Yves Ranola, and Michael Concio Jr impress in the tournament

MANILA, Philippines – Deniel Causo, one of the many Filipino chess players who make a living teaching chess abroad, tied for 1st in the Hong Kong Open on Thursday, December 27.

The 33-year-old Causo, who is based in Thailand, scored 8 points out of 9 rounds like Mirai Aoshima of Japan. Former Asian Junior champion Wong Meng Kong, a doctor, and Filipino Yves Ranola tied for 3rd with 7 points.

But it was 13-year-old Michael Concio Jr who stole the show as he finished 2nd in the blitz tournament to Russian grandmaster Alexander Fominyh.  

Concio, who became the second youngest finalist after Wesley So to play in the national championship finals in 2017, placed 10th in the open event but emerged as the top under 18 player.

Concio capped his tournament by drawing with Fominyh in a 58-move King’s Indian Defense. Handling the black pieces aganst the Russian and with his two knights doing battle vs his foe’s two bishops, the endgame became a subtle fight.

Fominyh had the theoretical edge with two bishops versus the young Filipino’s two knights, but Concio managed to parry his foe’s moves with small tactical threats. 

Roel Abelgas, Concio’s coach in the Dasmarinas chess enclave in Cavite, said his charge is slowly preferring tactical lines instead of just playing a waiting game.

“This will be good for him. In our group, we can our players to get used to the standard time controls used in foreign tournaments instead of events here which feature faster time controls,” said Abelgas.

Asked if playing older and stronger foes helps, Abelgas said: “This is the way to improve.”

Concio, International Master Daniel Quizon and Woman International Master Kylen Joy Mordido will topbill the Philippine team playing in a tournament in China in January. –

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