Final Standings (PH unless stated)
7.5 points—Nguyen NTS (Vie); 7.0—W. So; 6.0—R. Antonio, S. Megaranto (Ina); 5.5—M. Paragua, D. Laylo, E. Torre, N. Villanueva, B. Gundavaa (Mgl), G. Munkhgal (Mgl), Cao S. (Vie); 5.0—MJ Turqueza, Nguyen DH (Vie), JP Gomez, B. Nadera, R. Bitoon, R. Nolte, Dao TH (Vie)
6.5 points—Nguyen TTA (Vie); 6.0—B. Galas, A. Medina (ina), Pham LTN (Vie); 5.5—Hoang TNY (Vie); 5.0—C. Pereña, T. Batchimeg (Mgl), Hoang TBT (Vie), B. Munguntuul
TAGAYTAY CITY—Filipino Grand-master Wesley So booked a return trip to the World Chess Cup even as Vietnamese GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son seized the Asian Zone 3.3 Chess Championship yesterday at Tagaytay International Convention Center here.
The top-seeded So settled for a draw with Vietnamese GM Cao Sang in the ninth round to finish with 7.0 points and land second behind Nguyen, who downed Filipino GM John Paul Gomez for 7.5.
It will be the third straight World Cup appearance for the 19-year-old So, who reached the round of 16 in the 2009 edition and then made the second round in 2011. Both tournaments were held in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.
“I’m satisfied with my performance,” said So, a finance business freshman at Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri. “The main goal was to qualify (for the World Cup).”
So, ranked 66th in the world with his Elo rating of 2682, prevailed over Rustum Tolentino, GM Eugene Torre, GM Mark Paragua, Mongolian IM Bayarsaikhan Gundavaa and Vietnamese IM Nguyen Duc Hoa. He also drew with GM Nguyen, Indonesian GM Susanto Megaranto and Antonio.
So is scheduled to leave for the United States tomorrow night to prepare for the Reykjavik Open in Iceland next month.
The second-ranked GM Nguyen (Elo 2631) pocketed the top purse of $1,000 but, like So, stands to earn $5,000 more for reaching the 2013 World Cup slated Aug. 10 to Sept. 5 in Norway.
Unheralded Bernadette Galas shared the limelight when she stunned Vietnamese WGM Hoang Thi Bao Tram to place second in the women’s division ruled by Vietnamese WGM Nguyen Thi Thanh An, who dropped her final assignment to three-time Olympian WIM Catherine Pereña.
The 16-year-old Galas, a senior at Gen. Pio del Pilar High School in Makati, climbed to 6.5 points and earned an outright Woman International Master title, the youngest Filipina to do so.
It was also the best finish by a Filipino in the distaff side of the biennial event hosted by Tagaytay Mayor Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, also the Asian Zone 3.3 president, and the city council.
Inspired by Galas’ win, Pereña persevered to hand WGM Nguyen, who qualified for the Women’s World Championship, her lone loss and rise to 5.0 points.
Antonio and Megaranto, the 2011 Asian Zone 3.3 champion, drew their match and wound up with 6.0 points each.
National Chess Federation of the Philippines president Prospero “Butch” Pichay watched the final round and was elated by the results of the Filipino players.
FM Mari Joseph Turqueza, stalwart of San Sebastian College, gained an IM result following a draw with Indonesian IM Firman Syah Farid for 5.0 points.
Bacolod’s Nelson Villanueva bested Malaysian Yeoh Li Tian to fare better with 5.5 points, but only merited an outright FM title because he faced lower-ranked foes.
Mariano Nelson III, chess trainer of University of the East, and Ateneo chess coach Michael Gotel also earned FM titles after they agreed to split the point.