De Guzman, Fronda best PH bets in Asian Chess



MANILA, Philippines – No Filipino finished within the top 10 in the 17th Asian Continental Chess Championships (2nd Manny Pacquiao Cup) won by Chinese Grandmaster Wei Yi on Tuesday, December 18, at Tiara Hotel in Makati.

International Master Ricardo De Guzman and GM John Paul Gomez emerged best finishers for the Philippines in the 64-player Open division, landing No. 23 and 27, respectively, after the tiebreak was applied.

Both the 57-year-old De Guzman, a three-time Chess Olympiad campaigner, and Gomez, 32, mainstay of the national team, wound up with 5.0 points each after drawing their last two games in the nine-round tournament organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines and supported by the Philippine Sports Commission.

De Guzman, a balikbayan from the United States, split the point with Chinese IM Xu Yi in the eighth round on Monday night then did the same against Indian GM Abhimanyu Puranik in the last round.

Gomez, who was pulled down by a default loss in the second round, halved the point against Iranian GM Ehsan Ghaem Maghami and Chinese GM Tan Zhongyi in succession.

In the women's division ruled by Indian IM Rout Padmini, WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda and WGM Janelle Mae Frayna placed 16th and 18th, respectively.

Fronda and Frayna, both multiple Internationalists, notched 5.0 points each as against the 7.0 posted by Padhimi. WFM Allaney Jia Doroy placed 19th with 4.5 points.

Wei drew with Iranian GM M. Amin Tabatabael in the last round and took the title via tiebreaker over fellow 6.5 pointers Tabatabael and Vietnamese GM Le Quang Liem.

Le toppled Indian GM Surya Sheknar Ganuguly to catch up with Wei and Tabatabael.

Completing the top 10 in the Open division were Vietnamese GM Nugyen Ngoc Truong Son, Uzbek GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov, Iranian GM Parham Maghsoodloo and Indian GMs Babu M.R. Lalith, S.P. Sethuraman, B. Adhiban and Santosh Gujrathi Vidit.

Filipinos who placed in the middle pack with 4.5 points were IM Paulo Bersamina, GM Rogelio Antonio Jr., IM Jerad Docena and IM Oliver Dimakiling.

The top 5 in the Open division qualifies for the 2019 World Cup slated in Khanty-Mansyisk, Russia, while Padhimi advances to the 2019 Women's World Championship. –