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Asian chessfest underway




Grandmasters John Paul Gomez, Darwin Laylo and Joey Antonio and a slew of upcoming International Masters (IM) will spearhead the country’s campaign when the 17th Asian Continental Chess Championships unfolds Tuesday at the Tiara Hotel in Makati City.

Gomez, Laylo and Antonio will be the country’s best hopes for a better finish along with IM Jan Emmanuel Garcia, Haridas Pascua and Paulo Bersamina in this nine-round tournament sanctioned by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines.

The foreign challengers will be bannered by Chinese super Grandmasters (GM) Wang Hao and Wei Yi, who will be the top two seeds with ratings of 2730 and 2728, respectively, in the event that will be participated in by about 100 entries from 16 countries.

Other strong chessers seeing action are Iranian GM Parham Maghsoodloo (2689), Indians GM Baskaran Adhiban (2682) and GM S. P. Sethuraman (2664) and Chinese GM Ni Hua (2683).

An outright GM title and norms will be automatically given to the champion on top of a $10,000 cash prize.

WGM Janelle Mae Frayna, the country’s highest ranked woman player with a current rating of 2228, is the country’s best bet in the women’s side, which will have an equally strong field led by China’s WGM Guo Qi and WGM Wang Jue and India’s WGM Padmini Ruot.

Guo has highest rating of 2368 and a former team and individual silver medal winner in the 2014 World Chess Olympiad in Tromso, Norway while Wang and Ruot are rated 2367 and 2341, respectively.

The top five finishers in the men’s side will gain spots to the World Chess Cup 2019 set from 4 to 30 November in Khanty-Mansyisk, Russia, where the top two will automatically book a berth to the Candidates Tournament serving as the last stop before the next World Championship in 2020.