So, Megaranto headline Battle of the GMs International

GRANDMASTER Wesley So gets a chance to avenge his sorry loss to Indonesian GM Susanto Megaranto in the 26th Southeast Asian Games as they headline the Battle of the Grandmasters International on December 5-13 at the Malvar Park Hotel in Malvar, Batangas.

So, by far the country’s top player, bowed to Megaranto and settled for silver in the standard chess competition of the just-concluded biennial meet.

“Megaranto just caught Wesley on an off day,” said National Chess Federation of the Philippines executive director GM Jayson Gonzales. “Even after their last encounter, Wesley is still way ahead in their head-to-head.”

The two will be joined by a dozen other top players in the first international grandmaster tournament hosted by the country.

GM Li Chao of China is also expected to contend for the $4,000 top prize along with Asia’s first GM Eugene Torre, usual suspects GMs Rogelio “Joey” Antonio and Mark Paragua and rising stars GMs Oliver Barbosa and John Paul Gomez.

The other contenders in the event organized by the NCFP headed by chairman/president Prospero “Butch” Pichay, Jr. are GMs Darwin Laylo, US-based GM Rogelio “Banjo” Barcenilla, Europe-based GM Joseph Sanchez, newly-minted GM Richard Bitoon and teen chess sensation International Master Jan Emmanuel Garcia.

The women’s draw will also feature foreign chess stars. The women’s champion will receive $1,500.

Supporting the event are Tanauan Economic Council executive director Atty. Ruel Canobas and Malvar Park Hotel owner and NCFP director for publication Dir. Saturnino Belen.

The Battle of the GMs International will coincide with the International Open, a 9-round Swiss System tournament open to all players worldwide.

Registration in the International Open is free for all GMs and players with 2450-above FIDE rating.

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