Monday, December 18, 2006

Team Toronto takes North American championship

Zheng XiMing and Peter Sung won Toronto the first ever North American Xiangqi Championship in a seven-round tournament held December 10-12 in San Francisco .

The tournament was sponsored by World TV, and observed by a touring team of elite Chinese grandmasters.

The win makes it two North American championships in one year for Toronto : Zheng XiMing won the first-ever individual championship in April in Vancouver .

In the team event, second place went to New York , third to San Francisco "A", one of two teams that represented host city, and fourth to Vancouver . The rest of the teams in the field were San Francisco "B", Edmonton , Calgary , and Houston .

Toronto's score in matches was five wins and two draws. Its key match was against the powerful New York team: Sung beat John Mou to secure the win, and Zheng drew with John Ji.

Peter Sung Toronto (WIN) John Mou New York

The top three teams went into the last round in the order the finished, and that order was ensured with draws. San Francisco "A" just barely edged out Vancouver : the teams were tied in "match" and "game" points; San Francisco "A" was ahead on "opponent" points.

During the closing ceremony the two of the visiting grandmasters - both many-time Chinese champions - won a rapid-speed match against Toronto . The players each had 30 minutes on the clock. China 's 2006 individual champion, GM Xu YinChuan won a close game against Zheng in which both players almost used up all their time. GM Zhao GuoRong, runner up to Xu in this year's championship, beat Sung. John Mou played to a draw against GM Liu DianZhong, another of China 's great former champions. The Chinese team was led by CXA official and chess-expert Li Peng.

The next North American championships will be held in Edmonton in 2008, and will include both the individual and team events.

Photo 1 - Team Toronto
Photo 2 – (From left) GM Xu YinChuan, KOO Y H, Zheng XiMing
Photo 3 – (From left) GM Zhao GuoRong , YIN Anna, Peter Sung
Photo 4 – (From left) GM Liu DianZhong , HO Shing Kin, John Mou