MANILA, Philippines – Filipino Super Grand Master (GM) Wesley So solidified his status as the country’s top player after ruling the 2012 Luneta Open Rapid Chess Championship at the Luneta Lapu-Lapu statue in the historic Rizal Park in Manila last Saturday.
So split the point with GM John Paul Gomez after 40 moves of Gruenfeld defense in the sixth and penultimate round, and then defeated International Master (IM) Jan Emmanuel Garcia after 43 moves of the English Opening.
He finished with a total of 6.5 points after seven rounds of competition to annex another title and take home the P15,000 top prize.
The tournament was organized by the Rizal Park Chess Foundation, headed by its chairman Louie Ramos, in close cooperation with National Parks Development Committee administrative officer Estrelita Laraya and sanctioned by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP).
Speaking about his future plans in his chess career, So revealed that he aims to “break the 2700 Elo barrier and step into the 2800.”
“I’m sure he would have a chance to break into the world 2700 barrier,” said NCFP president and chairman Prospero “Butch” Pichay Jr.
So will also the lead the Philippines’ bid in the upcoming 11th Asian Continental Individual Chess Championships, a qualifiction tournament for the World Chess Cup, on May 4 to 14 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Nelson “Elo” Marian III smashed Sherwin Tiu in the final round to share the second to third places with GM Gomez.
The duo tallied six points apiece and received P6,500 each.
Meanwhile, GM Mark Paragua led a huge group of 5.5-pointers that includes IM Garcia, 12-time national open champion GM Rogelio Antonio Jr., GM Darwin Laylo, Fide Master Roderick Nava, National Master Edgardo Garma and Ryan Dungca.
Adjudged category winners were Tiu (top non-master player); Timothy So Kua (top juniors player); Generoso Salmorion (top seniors player); Mariel Batulan (top lady player); and Abhinav Reddy Bathula (top kiddie player). By Marlon Bernardino