Team Cebu chessers log decent finishes in Asian Zonals
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Team Cebu woodpushers logged decent finishes in the recent FIDE Asian Zonals 3.3 Chess Championships at the Cebu Parklane International Hotel.
The international chess tournament used a hybrid online chess format, a first in its history due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, most Filipino players considered it a blessing in disguise for giving them the chance to compete in a prestigious international tournament that is usually financially demanding to join.
After the nine-round Swiss system online action, National Masters (NM) Merben Roque and Rogelio Enriquez Jr. emerged as the two-highest ranked Team Cebu woodpushers.
NM Roque placed 16th while NM Enriquez Jr. trailed him at 17th place. Both accumulated 5.5 points but NM Roque was ranked higher due to higher tie-break points.
In the final round, NM Roque had a draw over Indonesian International Master (IM) Sean Cuhendi while NM Enriquez Jr. beat FIDE Master (FM) Poompong Wiwatanadate.
Richard Natividad settled for 24th place with 5.0 points after both his opponents in the last two rounds, Arena International Master (AIM) Chee Sian Chua of Malaysia and Filipino Vince Angelo Medina backed out giving him two easy points.
Jerish John Velarde placed 26th with 4.5 points after grabbing a crucial win in the final round by beating Candidate Master (CM) Prin Laohawirapap of Thailand. Jave Mareck Peteros landed in 39th place with 3.5 points after losing his final match to Malaysian Xi Hao Looi.
Women’s International Master (WIM) Bernadette Galas was the lowest-ranked player from Team Cebu at 41st place with 3.5 points. She lost to Narciso Gumila Jr. in the final round.
Cebu was one of the five Philippine hubs chosen by FIDE to host the international online chess tournament.
FIDE arbiters from RiChessMasters supervised the Cebu hub competition. A total of 52 FIDE-rated woodpushers from the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia vied for more than a week.
Meanwhile, IM Daniel Quizon emerged as tournament champion with 7.0 points while fellow Filipino, IM Michael Concio Jr. placed second with 6.5 points. Indonesian Grand Master (GM) Novendra Priasmoro rounded off the top three with 6.0 points.
Both IM Quizon and IM Concio will vie in the FIDE world championships in Sochi, Russia in July for placing first and second in the Asian Zonals.
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