MANILA -- Filipino Grandmaster (GM) Mark Paragua returned to the top of his game by winning the recent 18th Annual Mid-America Open Chess Championship at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Missouri.
Paragua, best remembered for winning the 1998 World Rapid Chess Under-14, was locked in a five-way tie with GM Fidel Corales Jimenez of Cuba, GM Benjamin Finegold of the US, GM Manuel Leon Hoyos of Mexico and International master (IM) Priyadharshan Kannappan of India. He, however, emerged as the victor after the tie break points were applied.
Ruifeng Li of China, Iskandar Aripov of Uzbekistan, and Anthony D Paolercio of Italy were tied at 6th to 8th places with 3.5 points each.
Paragua, who was tapped by Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte as a sports consultant, compiled four points in five outings with impressive wins against David Tianjiang Peng and Tianlu Peng of China, Advait Patel of Israel and Kevin Y Cao of USA.
He suffered his lone defeat to to Zach Kasiurak of Lithuania in the second round.
The 18th Annual Mid-America Open Chess Championships was organized by the Continental Chess Association headed by Bill and Brenda Goichberg.
Paragua is also scheduled to play in six US chess tournaments before heading to the prestigious World Chess Open in July. - Marlon Bernardino