Sat. Sep 18th, 2021

By Pigeon Lobien 

BAGUIO CITY – Former top Filipino woodpusher Grand Master (GM) Mark Paragua won the Curly King Shark online chess tournament on Monday.

Paragua, RitzyBlitz on Lichess, finished with 70 points in 30 games for a win rate of 73 percent and performance rating of 2774 to win the event that drew players from nine countries.

The event was presented by Lichess Battle Arena, Chess Shark Attack, and King Hari of Baguio-based International Master (IM) Haridas Pascua.

The online tournament had time control of two minutes with an increment of one second and players must win as many games in two hours of play, Pascua told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

Paragua, the youngest Filipino to become a GM until Wesley So came in, won 12 games, drew 11, and lost seven games for his aggregate score and the PHP5,000 top purse.

Paragua was the highest Filipino rated player at 2612 until it was beaten by So, who has reached the elite rating of 2824, which is the eighth-best ever in the world.

IM Lucas Liascovich of Argentina took the second spot with 60 points on 28 games and a win rate of 64 percent on nine wins for a performance rating of 2752 and the PHP3,000 second place price. In third place is Peruvian GM Jose Martinez Alcantara who had 52 points in a tie with Uzbek GM Shamsiddin Vokhidov but was given the third spot with lesser games of 26 against the latter’s 29.

Chin Lim finished fifth with 49, followed by IM Yosep Taher of Indonesia, IM Paulo Bersamina, and FIDE (The Fédération Internationale des Échecs / International Chess Federation) Master Aden Reyes, who all had 49 points but their placement was due to their win rates.

IM Renato Alfredo Terry Lujan and IM Richelieu Salcedo finished ninth and 10th with 48 and 47 points, respectively.

The 11th-20th spots were taken by IM Ronald Dableo, IM Jan Emmanuel Garcia, FM Dang Hoang Son of Vietnam, IM Aleksei Kireev of Russia, IM Toivo Keinanen of Finland, the 16-year old sensation IM Daniel Quizon, FM Lik Zang Lye of Malaysia, Michael Jako Concio, FM Daniel Causo, and IM Oliver Dimakiling.

Pascua said that online chess is now the trend with the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic that has canceled all tournaments – classic, rapid, and blitz.

Like most chess players now, Pascua is onto online tournaments even as he organizes his own over Lichess.

“As long as may Covid pa po, ito na yung pagkakaabalahan ng chess players (As long as there is Covid, this is the format where chess players will spend their time),” said Pascua.

Pascua is supposed to join Team Philippines to the 44th World Chess Olympiad in Moscow, Russia supposedly this September to October but had been postponed for next year due to the Covid pandemic.

Team Philippines will be composed of GMs Rogelio Barcenilla, Julio Sadorra, and John Paul Gomez, as well as IMs Bersamina and Pascua.

Unlike in 2018 when he took his second national title to qualify, Pascua needed to win the Philippine Chess Selection playoffs last February. (ia/PNA)

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