Veteran GM Mark Paragua defeated IM Wei Ming Goh of Singapore in the final round of the recently concluded Asian Zone 3.3 Chess Championships to formalize his qualification to this year’s World Cup chess tournament.
The win, which came after 35 moves of a Sicilian Defense, enabled the three-time Philippine Chess Team member to finish second and earned the last berth allotted for Asian players in this zone.
The 27-year old Paragua actually tied for second with top seed GM Zhang Zhong of Singapore and another Filipino IM Richard Bitoon who all would up with 6.5 points in the nine-round tournament. Paragua took the second and last berth after registering the highest tiebreak score.
Paragua was a previous qualifier in the 2004 and 2006 World Cup.
In other crucial games, Indonesian GM Susanto Megaranto bested Filipino GM Joey Antonio to emerge solo champion with seven points.
Newly crowned Asian Youth 16-under gold medalist Jan Emmanuel Garcia, an Ateneo student, was awarded the International Master title for his exceptional performance in the tournament.
Meanwhile, in the women’s section, IM Beverly Mendoza took the 11th spot with 5.5 points to emerge as the highest-placed Filipina player in the tournament
The event was organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) in cooperation with the Tagaytay City government who provided the playing venue at the Tagaytay International Convention Center.