After a grueling nine-round of play, Grandmaster Li Chao of China emerged champion at the conclusion of the first $100,000 Manny Pacquiao Asian Cup held recently at the Midas Hotel and Casino in Pasay City, Philippines. The 2nd seed lost no time to call a truce agreeing to a draw with eventual 3rd placer GM Mark Paragua. Tied at 6.5/9 points were local heroes GM Oliver Barbosa, GM Mark Paragua, GM Le Quang Liem of Vietnam, GM Baskaran Adhiban and GM Krishnan Sa- sikiran of India in that order. GM Sasikiran, however, was left out of the World Cup roster due to his inferior tie-break points. Other prominent Filipino chess masters who participated but were outside the qualification cut were GMs John Paul Gomez, Dar- win Laylo, Rogelio ‘Joey’ Antonio, Richard Bitoon and IMs Ronald Bancod, Chito Garma, Barlo Nadera, Jan Emmanuel Garcia, Rolando Nolte, Oliver Dimakiling and Petronio Roca.
US-based GM Julio Catalino Sadorra trounced GM Dao Thien Hai of Vietnam after 34 moves of Congressman-elect Manny Pac- quiao and GM Torre gracing with the ceremonial moves a Slav Defense in the last round but his loss to No. 1 seed Le in the penultimate round proved costly to his campaign. His 6/9 points tally bunched him in a tie for 7th -10th places with four others. GM Gomez, on the other hand, faltered when handling the black pieces against GM Adhiban of India in the last round. He’s tied from 11th-24th places with oth- ers at 5.5/9 points.
No. 1 ranked Filipino chess player, GM Wesley So, who is already seeded to the World Cup didn’t join. The Toronto-based grandmaster ruled the Calgary International Chess Open in Al- berta, Canada most recently. Meanwhile, Janelle Mae Frayna, a Far Eastern University standout completed the requirements for an International Master title in the just-concluded Asian championship. She beat reign- ing Zonal 3.2a champion WGM Nguyen Thi Thanh of Vietnam in the final round to cap her impres- sive campaign. Frayna placed 8th overall while compatriot Marie Antoinette San Diego was ranked 1 1th overall. Both will represent the country in the upcoming 2013 Asian Age group championship in Chang Mai, Thailand set next month. WGM The 2013 Asian Continental Championship was held from 18- 26th May 2013 and organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines and Eugene Torre Chess Foundation, Inc. 75 players from 14 chess federations, including 26 Grandmasters and 18 IMs took part in the tournament. (Joe Soliven, Vancouver BC)