Ganguly, Zhang win Asian Championships

by ChessBase
5/31/2009 – GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly of India and Zhang Xiaowen of China won the Asian Open and Women’s Championships 2009, respectively, in Subic Bay Freeport Zone in northern Philippines. A total of $50,000 was at stake in the Open and $15,000 in the Women’s Championships, from FIDE and the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP). Big pictorial report.

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Ganguly, Zhang win Asian Open and Women’s Championships

By Casto Abundo, Deputy President, Asian Chess Federation

Under the auspices of the Asian Chess Federation, the Continental Championships were qualifying events to the World Cup this coming November in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia and to the Women’s World Championship next year in Turkey.

The most important aspect of a tournament is that players enjoy themselves. It is always a pleasure for players when the Open and Women’s divisions are held together. In the last cycle, the Open and Women’s events were held in separate countries. This time the Asian Championships were organized together by the NCFP.

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And so they came to Subic Bay Freeport Zone, previously the biggest United States naval base in Asia. They took the three hour bus trip from the Manila airport and were billeted at the Subic International Hotel, consisting of Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Delta quarters, in typical Amercan military jargon. Players stayed in Bravo and had meals at the Delta hotel. Subic is a vacation resort and host to many international sports meets. In the first weekend of the chess tournament, an international triathlon meet was held in Subic.

The winner: Anand second Surya Shekhar Ganguly of India

The Open had a strong field of 85 players from 15 countries, including 40 GMs, 15 IMs and eight FMs. GM Ganguly emerged on top with 8 points out of 11 rounds, prevailing in a tie-break over GM Zhou Weiqi of China.

Tied for first, second on tiebreak points: Chinese GM Zhou Weiqi

The ten Asian Continental qualifiers to the World Cup are:


Ganguly Surya Shekhar





Zhou Weiqi




Yu Yangyi




Yu Shaoteng




Le Quang Liem




Antonio Rogelio Jr




Hou Yifan




Sandipan Chanda





Sasikiran Krishnan





Kunte Abhijit




Actually, GM Zhou Jianchao tied with 7½ points, but since he had previously qualified from the Chinese Zonal in April, the next in line in the Continental qualified.

Qualified for the World Cup: Chinese GM Yu Yangyi

Qualified: Chinese GM Yu Shaoteng

Qualified: Vietnamese GM Le Quang Liem

The darling of the crowd was former Women's Challenger Hou Yifan, who was consistently among the leaders

India's Harika Dronavalli also played in the men's (open) section and scored 50%

In the Asian Women's Championship, WIM Zhang Xiaowen of China dominated the strong field of 45 players from eleven countries including one GM, thirteen WGMs, one IM, eight WIMs and ten WFMs. The top three qualifiers to the Women's World Championship in Turkey in 2010 are:


Zhang Xiaowen





Ding Yixin




Meenakshi Subbaraman



Actually, WGM Huang Qian of China placed second with eight points, but since she had previously qualified from the Chinese Zonal in April, the Continental place passed to the next in line.

The winner by a full point: WIM Zhang Xiaowen of China

In second place but already qualified: WGM Huang Qian of China

Qualified with 7½/9 points: WFM Ding Yixin

Qualified for the Women's World Championship in Turkey: Indian WGM Meenakshi Subbaraman

Missed the qualification: India's IM Tanya Sachdev

It was a happy event and 39 players received cash prizes in the Open while 24 players received cash prizes in the Women’s. An unfortunate incident was the late arrival of the Uzbekistan delegation. GMs Anton Fillipov and Saidalli Yuldachev, IM’s Dzhurabek Khamrakulov and IM Nafisa Muminova of Uzbekistan and IM Evgeny Pak of Kazakhstan were unable to obtain visas on time.

On recommendation of Chief Arbiter Mahdi Abdulrahim of the UAE, the Appeals Committee, composed of GMs from the Philippines, China, India, Vietnam and Iran, decided to grant the late arrivals a half a point each for the first round.

The Uzbeks spoke in Subic with National Chess Federation of the Philippines president Prospero Pichay who promised to assist them. They thanked Pichay for interceding with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to expedite their visa issuance in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on their way to the Philippines.

Asian Chess Federation Deputy President Casto Abundo determined that the cause of the delay was failed email communications. To avoid such cases in future, he recommended that copies of such emails be furnished the Asian Chess Federation. The Organizing Committee submitted its report on this issue to FIDE Secretary General Ignatius Leong of Singapore and thanked him for attending the Technical Meeting and Inaugural Ceremony of the Asian Championship in Subic. Letter of the Asian Chess Federation President (PDF).

NCFP president Prospero Pichay (left) and FIDE Secretary General Ignatius Leong
made the ceremonial opening moves as NCFP and Subic officials looked on

IM Khamrakulov was so eager to join the Asian Championship that he left Uzbekistan with what their doctors diagnosed as an allergy for which they gave him some vitamins. He played for several rounds thinking the allergy would go away. When it did not, he informed the organizers who rushed him to the local hospital. Doctors said that by law travelers with high fever had to be sent to the San Lazaro hospital in Manila. There he was diagnosed with typhoid fever and returned to the hospital in Olongapo City near Subic Bay. Although the sickness happened before arriving in the Philippines, NCFP President Prospero Pichay generously covered the hefty hospital bills.

The second Subic International Open followed the Asian championship and is now going on. While most of the top Chinese players returned home for their national championship, half the field stayed for the $30,000 open joined by a number of young Philippine players. See for pairings and results.

NCFP president Prospero Pichay (second from right) awards the champion's trophy to GM Ganguly of India in the 2009 Asian Open Championship. Looking on are, from left, Asian Chess Federation Deputy President Casto Abundo, NCFP Director Edmund Legaspi, Chief Arbiter Mahdi Abdulrahim of the UAE and NCFP Executive Director Wilfredo Abalos.

GM Rogelio Antonio Jr. (left), the sole qualifier from the Philippines

Zhang Xiaowen of China dominated the Women’s
Championship with nine points out of eleven rounds

Players enjoy the tournament more when the Open and Women’s events are held together.
Above, part of the large Indian delegation could be heard laughing in the hotel lobby.

Among the many attractions in Subic is a tiger safari. In the pictures above, the Arbiters hold a nine-month-old tiger on their laps. Seated are, from left, Chief Arbiter Mahdi Abdulrahim of the UAE, Women’s Arbiter Grace Park of Korea and Chief Mehrdad Pahlevanzadeh of Iran. Standing are, from left, WGM Zhang Jilin and WIM Xu Tong of China and Casto Abundo of the Philippines.

Photos by Casto Abundo and Mehrdad Pahlevanzadeh


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