Filipino Chess Player: Mark Paragua

Jul 17, 2007, 8:00 AM |

Mark Paragua

Mark Callano Paragua (born March 29, 1984) is a Filipino chess Grandmaster. He was born in the Philippines to Flordeliza Callano and Ricardo Paragua, who is also his coach. The father and son travel around the world to participate in international tournaments. Paragua is currently Philippines' number one grandmaster.

At the 1998 Disney World Rapid Chess Championship for Kids, held November 15-17 at the EuroDisney theme park in Paris, Paragua and Bu Xiangzhi each finished first with 7 1/2 points in Boys 14 and under section, with Paragua taking the gold medal on tiebreak points.

He was the youngest Filipino master ever, at 9 years of age. He also became the youngest Filipino GM ever at 20, beating out Eugene Torre's record by about two years.

He qualified for the 2004 World Championship in Tripoli, Libya. Paragua was eliminated by Super GM Viktor Bologan of Moldova in the first round 1-3. He also qualified for World Cup Chess 2005 (qualifying tournament for world championship). He upset Super GM Sergei Movsesian (whose ELO rating as of January 2006 is 2632); formerly of Armenia now playing for Slovakia in the first round before narrowly losing in the tie breaker against an even stronger opponent in Alexey Dreev (rated 2697 as of January 2006) of Russia in the second round (Paragua drew both his games against Dreev in the regulation)

Paragua is set to become the first super Grandmaster in Philippine history after he placed second in the Asian Zonal 3.3 Chess Championships that ended Friday at the Stanford Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Paragua finished the 9-round Swiss system event with 7.0 points after being forced to a draw by Singapore’s GM Wu Shaobin (Elo 2510), who handled the black pieces. The Filipino earned enough Elo points from the tournament to take his 2596 Elo rating to over the 2600 norm for super GMs, according to international arbiter Gene Poliarco. Although there is some dispute as to the definition of super GM;(for example: Eugenio Torre was considered as among the elite grandmasters back in the early and mid 80s yet his rating never breached the 2600 mark). In January 2006 FIDE listed Paragua as now rated 2618 enough to get him in the top 100, but his rating has dropped to 2532 in April 2007