Asian Continental Championship: Wei Yi and Padmini Rout win

12/19/2018 – The Asian Continental Championship remained wide open until the very end. At the conclusion of the final round, all of the top three finishers — Wei Yi, Amin Tabatabaei and Le Quang Liem — were tied for first and it wasn't until the application of the tiebreaks that Wei Yi was declared the winner. In the women's group, too, Padmini Rout was caught in the lead after the final round by Gong Qianyun but clinched the title nonetheless as she had won the direct encounter against Gong in round 6. Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son and Surya Shekhar Ganguly took the fourth and the fifth spots respectively to book their berth into the 2019 FIDE World Cup. | Photo: Peter Long

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Tiebreaks determine winners in both groups

The Asian Continental Championship came to a close in Manila, the Philippines with Wei Yi and Padmini Rout winning the title prize in the Open and Women’s group respectively. Wei had finished joint first alongside Amin Tabatabaei and Le Quang Liem but was awarded the title prize due to his better tiebreak score. In the women's group too, Padmini Rout was joined by WGM Gong Qianyun in the first place after the final round. But since Padmini had won her direct encounter (which was the first tiebreak) against Gong in the sixth round, a draw was enough for her to clinch the title.

Top five finishers at the Asian Continental Championship 2018

Top five finishers (L to R): Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son (5th), Le Quang Liem (3rd), Wei Yi (1st), Amin Tabatabaei (2nd), Surya Shekhar Ganguly (4th) | Photo: Genghis Imperial

Padmini had led the women’s event all along and cruised to victory drawing all of her last three games. Wei Yi, on the other hand, had briefly slipped down to second place after round 7. In the penultimate round, he climbed back to the top after defeating Nodirbek Abdusattorov of Uzbekistan.

 

The first official world champion, Wilhelm Steinitz, has often been quoted saying if he could establish an unassailable knight on e6 or d6, he could go to sleep, for the game would win itself. Nodirbek Abdusattorov also found the d6 knight in the above position to be a bone in the throat. So much so, that he decided to throw in the towel at this point!

On the top board, GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly and Amin Tabatabaei, the tournament leaders at the time, discussed an Italian opening. Tabatabaei induced complications in the middlegame by giving up two knights for a rook and two pawns. 

 

Play continued 21…Nxd3 22.Qxd3 Nxb4. The computers preferred white’s position at several points after this but Tabatabaei stuck to his plan of advancing his queenside pawns to seek counterplay. Ganguly could not find the best moves to press in the position but he did manage to win one of Black's two queenside passers and blockade the second to hold the game to a draw after 57 moves.

In the final round, Ganguly was facing Le Quang Liem, who was half a point behind him on the score tally. Le, as white, went for the English Opening, which soon drifted into the lines of the reversed Sicilian Dragon. The game remained equal for the most part but as in the previous round, Ganguly began making inaccuracies in the endgame and found himself under pressure. 

 

Black was already under a bit of pressure here when Ganguly's 62…Bf8? brought the game to an instant end. There followed 63.Qh3+ Bh6 64.Kf6 Qd2 65.Qf5+ Kh8 and 66.Kg6 when Black could not have avoided the loss of the h6 bishop or an eventual checkmate.

Surya Shekhar Ganguly and Le Quang Liem during their final round game

Le Quang Liem made his way into the top 5 by defeating Surya Shekhar Ganguly in the final round | Photo: Almario Marlon Bernardino Jr. 

Final standings (top 20)

Rk. Name Pts.
1 WEI Yi 6,5
2 TABATABAEI M.Amin 6,5
3 LE Quang Liem 6,5
4 GANGULY Surya Shekhar 6,0
5 NGUYEN Ngoc Truong Son 6,0
6 ABDUSATTOROV Nodirbek 6,0
7 MAGHSOODLOO Parham 6,0
8 LALITH Babu M R 6,0
9 SETHURAMAN S.P. 6,0
10 ADHIBAN B. 6,0
11 VIDIT Santosh Gujrathi 6,0
12 MEGARANTO Susanto 5,5
13 NI Hua 5,5
14 KUNTE Abhijit 5,5
15 JUMABAYEV Rinat 5,5
16 FIROUZJA Alireza 5,5
17 WANG Hao 5,5
18 NGUYEN Anh Khoi 5,5
19 GHAEM MAGHAMI Ehsan 5,5
20 TRAN Tuan Minh 5,0

All available games

 

Women’s Championship

Ever since the sixth round, Padmini Rout had remained ahead of her nearest rival by a full point’s margin. In the last two rounds, the Indian international master had no problems sailing to a victory with short draws.

Padmini Rout receiving her prize at the Asian Continental Championship 2018

Padmini Rout finished first scoring three comfortable draws in her last three games | Photo: Peter Long

Meanwhile, Gong Qianyun tried hard to topple Padmini off the pole position but, in the end, only managed to catch up with the leader. And since Padmini had defeated Gong in the sixth round, she had nothing to worry about. Gong’s final round game against Munkhzul Turmunkh was especially spectacular. 

 

At the outset, Black seems to have a strong attack but there is no knock-out blow. In fact, the computer evaluates the position to be slightly better for white after 23.Qd2. However, white grabbed the h3 knight in the game but this proved to be disastrous. White lost her queen after 23…Rxe3! 24.fxe3 Bxh3+ 25.Ke2 Bg4+. Although white still had a rook and two bishops in the resulting position, Black's kingside pawns were much too fast.  

Final standings (top 20)

Rk. Name Pts.
1 PADMINI Rout 7,0
2 GONG Qianyun 7,0
3 PHAM Le Thao Nguyen 6,5
4 ZHU Jiner 6,0
5 MUNKHZUL Turmunkh 5,5
6 NING Kaiyu 5,5
7 VO Thi Kim Phung 5,5
8 LI Yunshan 5,5
9 WANG Jue 5,5
10 AULIA Medina Warda 5,5
11 NANDHIDHAA P V 5,5
12 GUO Qi 5,0
13 LI Xueyi 5,0
14 ZHANG Xiao 5,0
15 NGUYEN Thi Thanh An 5,0
16 FRONDA Jan Jodilyn 5,0
17 CITRA Dewi Ardhiani Anastasia 5,0
18 FRAYNA Janelle Mae 5,0
19 DOROY Allaney Jia G 4,5
20 GU Tianlu 4,5

All available games

 

Update on the Vidit Gujrathi incident

In our first report on the event, we had mentioned GM Vidit Gujrathi’s complaints regarding the accommodation and the attacks that Vidit and his colleagues, Abhijit Kunte and MR Lalith Babu, fell prey to on the eve of the event. ChessBase India had also tried to get in touch with some of the officials from the National Chess Federation of the Philippines and the Tournament Director of the event but none of the emails was answered.

However, in a recent update on the incident, one of the founding members of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines, Bobby Ang, addressed these issues in a report in BusinessWorld. According to Ang, the police had reviewed closed-circuit TV recordings of the incident and concluded “the three players went out and passed by a group of children (not armed goons) and two of the kids (who were half the size of the players) asked them if they could spare some change. The players ignored the beggars and went back to the hotel. Nobody was “cornered and attacked by armed goons.”

About the complaints regarding the accommodation, Ang wrote, “they were comparing the rate of a stripped-down room rate with no amenities at all with that of a single room with breakfast, lunch and dinner and function room. Most players took the option of a double room which is $85 per person. No chess organizer here in the Philippines would stoop to milking visitors from foreign shores by marking up hotel rates. Maybe this is done in other countries, but not in the Philippines.”

Three days before this piece was published, Vidit had posted about the incident on Facebook stating that the perpetrators were young delinquents.

Talking to ChessBase India, Vidit said, “It is a lie that they were just begging. The officials agreed that these people were delinquents. And I have zero problems if the CCTV footage is made public.”

When asked about the accommodation, he added: “The room was absolutely horrible. You can ask any player. There were rats in the room!”

Finally, Cliburn Anthony A. Orbe, the treasurer of the National Chess Association of the Philippines, took to Facebook to clarify the entire incident. In a live video stream, he read excerpts from a copy on the police report of the incident, which affirmed that the youngsters were only begging. He also admitted that these beggars were juvenile delinquents but did not possess weapons. However, they were begging aggressively and were bothering the trio. He further added that he understood Vidit, Lalith Babu and Kunte's side. "They (the Indians) were not familiar with the place. They may have sincerely thought that those minors had weapons." 

"There are no armed goons in Makati, especially in the Central Business District" - Cilburn Anthony A. Orbe

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artegall artegall 12/20/2018 09:04
I have no doubt that Vidit's story is accurate. Police accounts in the Philippines of dirty Duterte are of little account. Honest journalism is also at a premium in the Philippines. Wonderful people, ugly institutions.
KingMatti KingMatti 12/20/2018 05:22
Yes, I know. But for your information, Philippines is not a one single place, there are many different places that vary in safety and other conditions. The upper two islands should be ok and Makati in Manila is quite different place to the rest, meaning more rich and developed area. Strange to read about the poor service level, I have been to many different (mostly 3 stars hotels) there and the service is almost always good or very good, with few exceptions.

As the local and friendly (if shy) filipinos know, it`s mostly the muslims one has to take account for and they are almost all in Mindanao island (especially southern part of it), Zamboanga and other small islands.
Keshava Keshava 12/20/2018 04:56
@KingMatti, the United States issues travel advisories to try to keep their citizens safe. There is a level 2 travel advisory for people considering traveling to the Philippines: "Exercise increased caution in the Philippines due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, and a measles outbreak. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory." https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Philippines.html
starbucks99 starbucks99 12/20/2018 04:26
thanks
KingMatti KingMatti 12/20/2018 04:25
"An important question is - how dangerous is it for foreigners to travel to the Philippines to play in a chess tournament?"

First of all, there are different parts of the Philippine islands. Manila belongs to Luzon which is the safest area to foreigners. Second, the antidrugs campaign is a domestic issue and doesn`t involve turists or chess players.

Most important is to use common sense, like anywhere else. People in SE Asia are generally friendly and hospitable.
Keshava Keshava 12/20/2018 04:16
An important question is - how dangerous is it for foreigners to travel to the Philippines to play in a chess tournament? Regardless of the veracity of the claims of Vidit Gujrathi, there seems no doubt that if someone doesn't like you then they can anonymously claim that you are a drug dealer and then anyone in the Philippines will have a license to 'deal' with you - courtesy of the Philippine president. The International Criminal Court (ICC) is currently examining the anti-narcotics campaign and the extrajudicial killings. In response, Mr Duterte has started the process of withdrawing the Philippines from the ICC.
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