GM Anton Filippov of Uzbekistan emerged as the champion in the fourth President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Cup international chess championship which came to a fitting end at the Duty Free Fiesta Mall in Paranaque City.
(The event which took place from September 24 to 30 was suspended for a day after 4 rounds of play because of flooding in Metro Manila caused by tropical storm Katsena, locally named Ondoy. As a result a number of players lost by way of forfeit.
The devastating effect of tropical storm Katsena in the Philippines and Vietnam can be seen here. -TCC)
Filippov, seeded third with an ELO of 2595, subdued IM Richard Bitoon of the Philippines in the eighth and penultimate round late Tuesday and drew with top seed GM Mikhail Mchedlishvili of Georgia in the final round to finish with a nine-round aggregate of 6.5 points on four wins and five draws.
Four other players – GMs Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son of Vietnam, Ehsan Ghaemmaghami of Iran, Merab Gagunashvili of Georgia and Gopal Nayanan of India – also finished with similar scores of 6.5 points but lost the title to Filippov in the tiebreak.
Truong Son, who held the solo lead after the seventh round, settled for back-to-back draws with Mchedlishvili and Gagunashvili in the eighth and ninth rounds.
Ghaemmaghami, the lone Iranian player in the field, made the biggest jump when he defeated GM John Paul Gomez of the Philippines in the eighth round and GM Tigran Kotanjian of Armenia in the ninth round to finish in a tie for first place.
Gagunashvili beat GM Meng Kong Wong of Singapore and halved the point with Nguyen, while Nayanan drew with Kotanjian in the eighth round and trounced GM Darwin Laylo of the Philippines in the final round.
The five players, however, earned US$4,000 each out of the total prize fund of US$40,000 in the tournament organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) and supported by the Department of Tourism, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, PAGCOR, Duty Free, Local Water Utilities Administration and Crown Regency Hotel.
NCFP president Prospero “Butch” Pichay awarded the trophies and cash prizes, assisted by NCFP executive/events director Willie Abalos and chief arbiter Toti Abundo.
Mchedlishvili, the highest-rated player here with an ELO of 2613, finished in sixth place with six points in a tie with GMs Rogelio Antonio, Jr. and Oliver Dimakiling.
Antonio, one of three players who will represent the country in the World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia next month, drew with GM Anuar Ismagambetov of Kazakhstan in the eighth round and then nipped compatriot GM-elect Ronald Dableo in the final round.
Dimakiling drew with Dableo in the eighth round and won over No. 16 Pyotr Kostenko of Kazakhstan in the final round to join Antonio as the highest-placed Filipino players.
Mchedlishvili, Antonio and Dimakiling pocketed US$1,333 each.
Nine other players, led by Filipino GMs Jayson Gonzales, Buenaventura “Bong” Villamayor and Gomez and IM Richard Bitoon, finished in ninth to 17th places with 5.5 points. They received US$933.
Also in the group are Kotanjian, Ismagambetov, GM Das Neelotpal of India and Emmanuel Senador.
A big letdown was Bitoon, who managed only half point in the last two rounds. After the loss to Filippov, he drew with Senador in the final round.
Laylo, the reigning Asian Zone 3.3 champion, and Dableo, the country’s newest GM, led four other players with five points.
(Dableo was joint leader with GM Wong Meng Kong after 4 rounds but forfeited their 5th round match for having arrived late due to transport problem caused by typhon Ondoy. -TCC)
Defending champion, GM Eugene Torre, who won the title in a three-way tie last year, withdrew after the seventh round.
The 11th-seeded Filipino GM finished with only 2.5 points on five draws and two losses to No. 28 seed David Elorta in the sixth round and No. 36 FM Haridas Pascua in the seventh round. –By: Ed Andaya