Sunday, July 24, 2011

Four straight for the young phenom


Battle of GMs: So clinches title for 4th straight year
Monday, July 25, 2011
Written by : Ed Andaya

Final standings:

9 points -- W. So
8 -- O. Barbosa, E. Torre
7.5 -- D. Laylo, J. Sanchez, R. Antonio, R. Bitoon, R. Nolte
6 -- M. Paragua
5.5 -- J. Gomez
5 -- R. Barcenilla, J, Garcia
4 -- R. Salvador
3 -- Y. Ranola

UNSTOPPABLE.

That was how players -- and even officials -- described the smashing performance of GM Wesley So shorltly after winning an unprecedented fourth straight title in the ‘Battle of GMs’ chess championships at the National Press Club Bldg. in Intramuros, Manila.

So capped his impressive one-man show with a pair of back-to-back draws against GM-candidate Richard Bitoon in the 12th and penultimate round and GM Darwin Laylo in the 13th and final round to finish with a runaway total of nine points on five wins and eight draws in the prestigious, 14-player competition organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) and sponsored by Pilipinas Shell.

The 17-year-odl Filipino champion, who is scheduled to face GM Liren Ding of China in the first round of the World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk, Rusia next month, swept his first four assignments before slowing down a bit in the next nine rounds.

“This is easily the most difficult of the four (Battle of GMs) championships, especially because there are more rounds played. But I’m happy to win the title again,” said So,. whose last setback in a local tournament came at the hands of GM Julio Catalino Sadorra in the eighth round of the 2008 President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Cup at the Duty Free Fiesta Mall in Parañaque.

The win was also worth P150,000 for So.

Newly-crowned Campomanes Memorial Cup champion GM-candidate Oliver Barbosa and Asia’s first GM Eugene Torre shared second to third places with eight points.

Barbosa, however, clinched runner-up honors by virtue of the winner-over-the other rule.

Barbosa, who earned his second GM norm as early as th eninth round, drew with GM Rogelio Antonio, Jr. in 30 moves of the London System, while Torre halved the point with GM Joseph Sanchez after 30 moves of Queen’s Pawn opening.

Five players -- Laylo, Antonio, Sanchez, Bitoon and IM Rolando Nolte -- shared at fourth to eighth places with 7.5 points.

Bitoon, who also achieved his second GM norm in th eninth round, drew with World Cup-bound GM Mark Paragua in 31 moves of a Nimzo-Indian,w hile Nolte defeated IM Yves Ranola after 33 moves of the Sicilian defense.

Paragua finished inninth place with six points, followed by GM John Paul Gomez in 10 th place with 5.5 points.

Comebacking GM Rogelio Barcenilla and IM Jan Emmanuel Garcia battle dto a draw in 30 moves of the English opening to share 11 th to 12 th places with five points.

More here.