Tuesday, May 13, 2008

2nd Philippine International Open

It is chess galore in Europe at the moment. Over the last couple of weeks, we've had Baku, Plovdiv, Baku again and now M-Tel where Ivanchuk is just killing everybody. But the action isn't just over there. In nearby Philippines, the reasonably strong (11 GMs, 15 IMs, 4 FMs) 2nd Philippine International Open is taking place.

After nine rounds of the 11-round event, GM Chao Li of China and Vietnam's GM Quang Liem Le are leading by half point on 7 points from Indonesia's IM Dede Liu, GM Rogelio Antonio and the untitled Weiqi Zhou.

In round 5, recent star performer Wesley So lost to Weiqi Zhou then suffered a second loss to current co-leader Chao Li in round 8. Wesley is presently on 6 points.

But all this chess aside, we should perhaps spare a thought for the Burmese contingent in RP. As you know, Burma (or officially, Myanmar) was recently struck by Cyclone Nargis which resulted in the deaths (according to some estimates) of up to 100,000 people.

RP's Inquirer paper spoke to GM Win Lay Zaw.

For these sportsmen, who devour every bit of news from CNN and other international news networks or the Internet, the only thing worse than knowing is not knowing what is happening in their country. They left their families, some of whom live in Rangoon (Yangon), the area hardest hit by Nargis.

In the first few days of the disaster, Zaw said he tried calling friends, relatives and even acquaintances in Burma to get news in between preparations and competitions, but no call or email could reach home.

Read more in Burmese chess players in Subic worried.

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