Asian junior chess under way; PH bets among faves
TAGAYTAY CITY—International Master Jan Emmanuel Garcia and Fide Master Paulo Bersamina are expected to provide Indian defending champion IM Narayan Srinath stiff opposition in the Asian Junior Chess Championship that fires off today at Tagaytay International Convention Center here.
The 19-year-old Ateneo stalwart Garcia totes an Elo rating of 2396, second only to the Elo 2461 of Srinath, who topped last year’s edition in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, in the Open division. Garcia won last year’s Asian Under-18 championship in Iran.
Bersamina, 16-year-old standout of Letran, played for the Philippine team in the 2014 Chess Olympiad in Tromso, Norway, and did well in the recent World Junior Championship held in India, finishing 36th out of 137 entries.
Cavite Rep. Abraham Tolentino, the World Chess Federation (Fide) secretary general, will welcome participants in the afternoon opening ceremony together with Education Assistant Secretary Tonisito Umali and Asian Chess Federation executive director Casto Abundo.
The first round of the nine-nation tournament will be held after the opening rites.
Tolentino agreed to stage the tournament confined to players 20 years and younger after organizers from original host Shandong, China, begged off at the last minute.
Also expected to contend for the title are IM Sumiya Bilguun of Mongolia, seeded fourth at 2249. Bilguun is known for his bold plays which have stunned several grandmasters.
Indian Woman IM Ivana Maria Furtado is heavily favored to rule the girls’ division.
Furtado won the Asian Girls Championship in 2012 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Furtado’s top challengers are compatriot Rucha Pujari, Sholpan Zhylkaidarova of Kazakhstan and Filipino WFM Marie Antoinette San Diego, who also took part in the World Juniors and landed 31st among 78 participants.