Paragua books trip to World Cup
(The Philippine Star) Updated May 31, 2011 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines – Three-time Olympiad veteran GM Mark Paragua beat IM Wei Ming Goh of Singapore in the final round to finish second in the Asian Zone 3.3 Chess Championships and clinch the last berth in this year’s World Cup.
Paragua outwitted Goh in 35 moves of the Sicilian and wound up with 6.5 points in the nine-round tournament topped by Indonesian GM Susanto Megaranto at the Tagaytay International Convention Center in Tagaytay yesterday.
Paragua, 27, actually finished tied with top seed Zhang Zhong of Singapore and compatriot IM Richard Bitoon but took the second and last World Cup berth with a superior tiebreak score.
Megaranto downed GM Joey Antonio to emerge the solo champion with seven points in the event organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) in cooperation with the Tagaytay City government.
Megaranto’s win over Antonio came exactly 12 hours after he stopped erstwhile leader GM Darwin Laylo in the penultimate round.
“I’m very happy to make it to the World Cup again. It’s been a long time since I last played there,” said Paragua, who earlier escaped with a hard-fought draw with Zhang in the eighth round.
Paragua made it to the 2004 World Cup in Tripoli, Libya, losing to GM Viktor Bologan of Moldova, 1.5-.5, Russia in the first round.
In 2006, he defeated GM Sergei Movsesian of Armenia, 1.5-.5, in the first round but lost to GM Alexei Dreev of Russia in the blitz playoffs, 6-5, in the second round.
Zhang foiled Laylo, while Bitoon crushed GM Dao Thien Hai of Vietnam for joint second.
Newly crowned Asian Youth 16-under gold medalist Jan Emmanuel Garcia settled for a draw with IM Nguyen Huyn Monh of Vietnam, while IM Rolando Nolte beat GM Cerdas Barus of Indonesia for joint fifth with six points.
Garcia also earned an outright IM title based on his exceptional showing.
The 16-year-old Ateneo student also won over Wei Ming Goh of Singapore in the eighth round.