• Filipinos shine in Malaysia Chess Challenge

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    Three Filipino chess masters bagged the top three spots in the 12th Malaysia Chess Challenge in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

    Michael Concio Jr. dominated the event with a total score of 8.5 points on eight wins and a draw in the nine-round tournament.

    The 12-year old wizard stamped his class over Yau Kong Zi of Singapore in the first round, Malaysians Lai Zhen Hou (second), Brandon Tien Sreenivasan (third), Chuah Yi Ning (fourth), Poh Yu Tian (sixth) and Chuah Hao Min (eighth), Indian Mota Pankit (fifth) and Filipino Michelle Yaon (seventh) then split the point with another Filipino Gerald Ferriol in the final round.

    Ferriol and Darry Bernardo ended up in a two-way tie for second with identical 7.5 points.

    But Ferriol took the second spot because of superior tiebreak points.

    He defeated Malaysians Nozarin Juarih (first), Mohd Nasir Mohd Khairi (fifth) and Abduk Razak Tariq Ziad (seventh), Noel Nicolas of France (second), Filipino Martin Gaticales (third), and Indian Dhruvik Shah (eighth) and drew with Concio.

    On the other hand, Bernardo collected points with victories over Julien Goh of Singapore, and Malaysians Mat Yeop, Ahmad Johari Mohd Firdaus, Ho Chen Ee, Yip Thung, Su Weng Yang and Teh Wee Zhun, and a draw with Yaon.

    Meanwhile, Filipino Grandmaster (GM) Wesley So and 66th seed German GM Matthias Bluebaum agreed to a draw in their first match of the 2017 FIDE (International Chess Federation) World Chess Cup second round in Tbilisi, Georgia.

    So needs to win against Bluebaum in the second game to advance to the third round in the tournament, which offers $120,000 to the champion and $80,000 to the runner-up.

    Top seed Magnus Carlsen of Norway, No. 4 GM Vladimirk Kramnik of Russia and No. 8 Maxime Vachier-Lagrve of France won their respective first games in the second round.

    Carlsen outclassed Aleksey Dreev of Russia, Kramnik outplayed GM Anton Demchenko of Russia, and Vachier-Lagrve beat GM Boris Grachev of Russia.

    EMIL C. NOGUERA

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