Saturday, April 12, 2008

JAPFA Chess Festival

Irene Kharisma Sukandar in hot pursuit of 1st GM at JAPFA April 13, 2008 From Sports News After a narrow failure in Ukraine, Indonesia's leading women's chess player Irene Kharisma Sukandar will be given another chance to win her first grandmaster (GM) norm at the upcoming JAPFA Chess Festival in Jakarta next week. The chess festival will bring together 700 players from across the country to play in several categories with cash prizes totaling US$10,700, at the National Sports Council (KONI) headquarters in Central Jakarta from April 15 to 20. A competition in which foreigners contend will be a highlight of the festival. 16-year-old Irene will compete against five other female players from overseas. Another highlight will be Indonesia's new star Susanto Megaranto taking on Wesley So of the Philippines, another young chess prodigy. Irene will need to score at least 6.5 to win the round-robin tournament against Women's Grandmaster (WGM) Jana Krivec of Slovenia, WGM Regina Pokorna of Slovakia, WGM Li Roufan of Singapore, Women's FIDE Master (WFM) Thandar Aye Win of Myanmar and Perena Catherine of the Philippines. "It will be hard to get the points but I am optimistic about my chances," Irene said, adding that she had met all of the players before. Irene missed out on earning her first norm at the Cup of Rector international tournament in Ukraine last month when she only scored six points, well below the required point score. The Indonesian Chess Association (Percasi) has been relying on Irene in its efforts to produce the first women's grandmaster in the country. Percasi has taken its campaign seriously, with Irene undergoing intensive training under the supervision of Hungarian Tibor Karolyi. Karolyi said he held seven-hour training sessions every day to prepare her for future tournaments. "Right now, her lexical knowledge is still behind European chess. But I think she shows promise to place in the world's top 20 in two years to come," he said during a media conference on Friday. Percasi's executive director Eka Putra Wirya said the matches would be tight with world ratings at stake. Meanwhile, Susanto, in his match against the world's youngest grand master Wesley So, will seek a redemption for his three losses in a six-round match against 15-year-old Wesley, whose rating is 2,540. Susanto's rating is 2,561. "He (Wesley) is very good at opening, so I will concentrate on that part," Susanto said. In last year's festival, Susanto was tied 3-3 against GM Zhang Zhong of China while Irene was beaten 1-5 by WGM Li Ruofan, who is also Zhang's wife. (ind)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Irene may not have won all her games the usual way.

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