Chess: Indonesian may soon be woman grandmaster

Shania Mae Mendoza.
PHOTO: The Jakarta Post/Niken Prathivi

Shania Mae Mendoza of the Philippines may be on her way to ending the 3rd JAPFA ASEAN Chess Championship 2015 as a Woman Grandmaster (WGM) after drawing with Amanda Suci Fitriyani of Indonesia on Monday in the ninth round of the competition at Utut Adianto Chess School (SCUA).

A draw was the minimum result Mendoza needed to earn the norm (a performance benchmark that qualifies players for titles), as she had already collected 6 points out of the required 6.5 points. It was Mendoza's third draw in the tournament, in addition to five wins and one loss, after nine of 11 rounds.

"I'm quite happy with the result, because it ended in a draw," Mendoza told The Jakarta Post, although the Women FIDE Master seemed unenthusiastic, possibly having hoped for a victory over the Indonesian.

"My opening was simply not right," she explained.

Mendoza said she had been challenged by a gambit opening by lower-rated Amanda. The opening clearly benefitted the Indonesian, she added.

"The game was actually equal. I didn't get the chance to win," the 17-year-old Filipino admitted.

It was the third norm for Mendoza, which means that she has collected all the required three norms for the WIM title.

"However, I still have to wait for my elo rating [after the ASEAN Chess event]. A WIM should have an elo rating above 2200," added Mendoza, who has a rating of 2091.

ASEAN age group championships in Thailand in March will give Mendoza more opportunities on her way to the Woman Grandmaster title.

Fourteen-year-old Amanda said she was "okay" with tying against Mendoza.

"It was a tricky game for me," she said. "I don't really know what happened [so the game ended in a draw], maybe because I got too nervous, as it is my first time [joining the international tournament]," said the Indonesian, adding that she was looking for experience rather than setting a high goal for herself in the event.

So far, Amanda has collected 1.5 points for one win against compatriot WFM Dita Karenza, seven losses and one draw.

In Round 10 on Tuesday, Amanda is set to face Woman International Master Chelsie Monica Ignesia Sihite, who lost against Woman Grandmaster Nguyen Thi Mai Hung in Round 9. Meanwhile, Mendoza will face compatriot Janelle Mae Frayna, who won against host Dita Karenza.

In other matches, WFM Citra Dewi Ardhiani Anastasia of Indonesia earned a draw against WIM Huang Thi Nu Y of Vietnam.

In the Open category, untitled Yoseph Theolifus Taher clinched a draw against IM Garcia Jan Emmanuel of the Philippines, IM Ali Muhammad Lutfi of Indonesia won against FIDE Master Yeoh Li Tian, IM Bersamina Paulo of the Philippines drew against GM Megaranto Susanto of Indonesia and IM Nguyen Van Huy of Vietnam won against IM Wynn Zaw Htun of Myanmar.

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