January 29, 2023

Former top Filipino woodpusher Grand Master Mark Paragua won last week the Curly King Shark online chess tournament presented by Lichess Battle Arena, Chess Shark Attack, and King Hari of Baguio-based International Master Haridas Pascua.

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 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, according to Pascua.

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 P5,000 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 P3,000 second place prize. 

In third place was 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.

Pascua said online chess is now the trend due to the pandemic that has canceled all tournaments – classic, rapid, and blitz.

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

Pascua was supposed to join Team Philippines to the 44th World Chess Olympiad in Moscow, Russia on September and October but the event was postponed next year due to the threat of the pandemic. – PNA