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Pinoy Grandmaster Paragua clinches World Cup of chess berth

May 31, 2011 4:52pm
Three-time Chess Olympiad campaigner Grandmaster (GM) Mark Paragua is going to the 2011 World Cup for the third time in 11 years.

Paragua rediscovered his old game to subdue International Master (IM) Wei Ming Goh of Singapore in 35 moves of the Sicilian and finish second behind surprise champion GM Susanto Megaranto of Indonesia at the end of the 2011 Asian Zone 3.3 chess championships at the Tagaytay International Convention Center here late Monday.

The 27-year-old campaigner from Meycauyan, Bulacan finished with 6.5 points, half a point behind Megaranto in the prestigious, nine-round competition organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP).

Megaranto and Paragua finished 1-2 to clinch the two World Cup berths. The tournament will be held at Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia later this year.

The sixth-seeded Megaranto completed his dramatic climb by pulling the rug from under GM Rogelio Antonio, Jr. in their keenly-watched encounter that tempered the Filipinos' celebration.

The win by the Indonesian champion came exactly 12 hours after he scored a stunning upset over GM Darwin Laylo in what experts claimed "was a losing battle against the previously unbeaten Filipino player."

"I'm very happy to make it to the World Cup again. Matagal-tagal din uli bago makalaro dun," said Paragua, who moved in vantage position following a hard-fought draw against top seed Zhang Zhong of Singapore the previous round.

Paragua made it to the 2004 World Cup in Tripoli, Libya, losing to GM Viktor Bologan of Moldova, 1.5-.5, of Russia in the first round.

In 2006, he defeated GM Sergei Movsesian of Armenia, 1.5-.5, in the first round but lost to GM Alexei Dreev of Russia in the blitz playoffs, 6-5, in the second round.

Zhang defeated Laylo, while IM Richard Bitoon crushed GM Dao Thien Hai of Vietnam to finish in a three-way tie for second to fourth places with Paragua (6.5 points).

Paragua, however, clinched runner-up honors by virtue of higher tiebreak score. - RCJ, JVP, GMA New
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