WORLD  CHESS:  FILIPINO  WHIZ  KID  TOPPED  DUBAI  CHAMPIONSHIPS

MANILA, APRIL 16, 2008
(STAR)  Wesley So is so young and so good.

The Filipino whiz kid continued his steady climb in world chess ranking as he topped the $45,000 Dubai Open chess championships at the Dubai Chess Club in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

So, currently the youngest grandmaster in the world at 14, held his ground against Chinese GM Li Chao on Board 1, agreeing to a draw after 18 moves of a Sicilian Defense Accelerated Dragon skirmish to clinch the crown in the highly competitive event attracting 29 GMs and a total field of 131.

The Bacoor, Cavite resident actually finished tied with Li and two others on top with seven points each at the end of the nine-round Swiss system tourney. So took the coveted Sheikh Rashed Bin Hamdan Al Maktoum Cup with a better tiebreak score.

Georgian GM Merab Gagunashvili also halved the point with Ukrainian GM Valeriy Neverov on Board 2 to take the first runner-up honors.

Iranian GM Ehsan Ghaem Maghami whipped Kazakh GM Nurlan Ibrayev to finish third followed by Li.

So, Gagunashvili, Maghami and Li evenly split the prizes for the top four totaling $18,000, earning $4,500 each.

Indian GM Abhijeet Gupta, Ukrainian GM Yuri Drozdovskij, Indian IM RR Laxman, Neverov, Georgian GM David Arutinian and Azerbaijan GM Rasul Ibrahimov closed out the Magic 10 although they finished with 6.5 points each together with two other Azerbaijan GMs.

So, seeded No. 16 in the tourney with a 2540 Elo rating, finished with seven points with six wins, two draws and one loss.

National Chess Federation of the Philippines president Prospero “Butch” Pichay Jr. lauded So for his triumph.

“Wesley So reaffirmed how good Filipino chess players are. I’m backing him in his bid to become Super GM in the near future,” said Pichay.

Businessman Reginald Tee, So’s spokesman, said the player gained 15 Elo rating points on his winning performance.

So is next competing in another tough competition in Indonesia before returning home for the Battle of Philippine Grandmasters.

IM Julio Catalino Sadorra and Jobannie Tabada earned five points apiece, FM Antonio Molina and Ernesto Yap chalked up 4.5 points each and NM Robert Arellano scored 3.5 points.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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