Indonesia has much at stake at IOCC 2012 
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sports | Thu, October 11 2012, 8:37 AM 

The second edition of the US$55,500 Indonesian Open Chess Championship commences on Thursday, with local players urged to up the challenge against high-ranked contenders from around the world.

Listing competitors from 17 nations and featuring 27 grandmasters, including those with Elo ratings (relative skill levels) above 2,600, the nine-round tournament will provide strong competition for local players as well as daunting prospects for the girl who would be the nation’s first women’s grandmaster.

The Indonesian Chess Association (Percasi) will be encouraging Medina Warda Aulia, 15, to carry on after her recent impressive tour of Europe that earned her a second WGM (Women’s Grandmaster) norm.

“I have asked Ruslan [Scherbakov] to focus on Medina and Chelsie [Monica Sihite],” Indonesian team manager Kristianus Liem told The Jakarta Post. Chelsie, also 15, is another teen chess prodigy who has been outstanding in recent outings.

Both have steered the Indonesian women’s team to a respected 24th position among participants from more than 120 countries at the recent Chess Olympiad.

Medina will have to book a third WGM norm to be awarded WGM (woman’s grandmaster) title.

“To win a WGM is not an easy task, but if she succeeds against GM-titled opponents she may need only 5 [from a possible 9] to register a norm,” Kristianus, who led the team’s European tour, said.

Several names are returning to Indonesia for the event, including last year’s winner, Li Chao of China; Vladislav Tkachiev of France; runner-up Ganguly Surya Shekhar of India and Oliver Barbosa of Philippines.

Alexey Dreev, last year’s top seed whose upset defeat by local player Susanto Megaranto condemned him to 7th place in the final standings, is absent this year, but the tournament has equally strong contender in Ivan Sokolov.

Bosnian born chess grandmaster Sokolov, currently a Dutch citizen, has arrived in Jakarta as top seed. He won the World Open Championship in Philadelphia, US, in July.

At 2696, he is the player with the highest Elo-rating in Jakarta tournament, with Li Chao right behind him at 2685.

“It’s difficult to gauge. In chess, ratings can be a clue but it’s not a guarantee,” Utut said when asked about the players’ prospects.

Utut said that Sokolov was typically sharp in games. The pair have squared off twice, both meetings ending in draws.

Despite the strong field, he hoped Susanto, Indonesia’s highest-rated player, could pose tough challenges for his foreign opponents. “I hope Susanto can break into the top three.”

Susanto finished in eight place last year, the highest position a local player reached at the tournament.

The Jakarta tournament will also provides Susanto a chance to redeem his discouraging run at the Olympiad that saw the Indonesian men’s team suffered a dip on the final standings from the previous Olympiad.

Utut said the tournament should be a challenge not only for Susanto, but for the other team’s members.

“This is a challenge. They are Indonesia’s best players. They must be able to compete against foreign players,” he said.


Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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