FORMER world championship contender GM Nigel Short of England lived up to his high billing when he defeated World Chess Olympiad veteran WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda at the start of the 2017 Negros International Open in Bacolod
Short, who is best remembered for challenging former world champion Garry Kasparov of Russia in London 1993, outwitted Fronda in 37 moves of the Ragozin Defense.
The 52-year-old Short is the top seed in the tournament with an ELO of 2698.
The biggest news, however, was reigning national junior champion John Marvin Miciano, who held second seed GM Karen Grigoryan of Armenia to a draw.
Miciano, seeded 26th in the 50-player field, survived the attack of Grigoryan on his shaky Pirc defense and salvaged a draw in 35 moves.
“A perpetual was ominous when a draw was agreed,” said journalist Ignacio Dee in his analysis for social media group Chess Philippines.
“Grigoryan ripped Miciano’s set up with a piece sacrifice that created a passed pawn and created disorder on black’s position. But the 17-year old FEU high schooler held his position together despite the sharp battle,” addedDee.
Miciano and Stephen Rome Pangilinan, who is also playing in Bacolod, will join Paulo Bersamina to the world junior championships scheduled on Nov. 12-26 in Tarvisio, Italy.
Third seed GM Tuan Minh Tran of Vietnam whipped Xavier John Verdun, No. 4 seed Srinath Narayanan of India crushed Rey Jomar Magallanes, No. 5 Nguyen Duc Hoa of Vietnam overwhelmed Kevin Mirano to lead the march of the foreign players.
IM Ronald Dableo, the highest-rated Filipino player in the tournament with an ELO of 2419, outplayed WIM Mari Antoinette San Diego
Also hurdling their opening-day matches were No.7 IM Oliver Dimakiling, who beat Marvin Ting; No. 9 GM Rogelio Antonio, Jr. who dumped Jagadeesh Siddharth of India; No.10 IM Kim Steven Yap, who downed Michael Concio, Jr.; No. 11 IM Tran Minh Thang of Vietnam, who outclassed Mark Mangubat; No. 12 IM Chito Garma,who bested Eden Tumbos; No. 13 David Elorta, who stopped John Velarde.
No. 8 GM Darwin Laylo was held to a draw by little-known Roizon Roullo.
A total of six countries, including host Phlippines, are represented in the nine-round Swiss competition organized by the Bacolod Chess Club and sanctioned by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP).
Aside from the Philippines, the other countries represented are England, Myanmar, Vietnam, India and Singapore.