MANILA, Philippines – Grand Master Mark Paragua is one step closer to his goal of becoming a national champion with three rounds to go in the 2012 National Open Chess Championships at the Cabagnot Training Center in Kalibo, Aklan.
Paragua defeated fellow GM Richard Bitoon in 29 moves of Catalan in the 12th round to join International Master (IM) Oliver Dimakiling at the top of the leaderboard
Dimakiling only managed a draw against IM Emmanuel Senador in their rook and pawn endgame.
Both Paragua and Dimakiling have 18.0 points.
GM Darwin Laylo settled for a stalemate with GM Roland Salvador to move into solo third place, followed by GM Julio Catalino Sadorra, who split the point with top-seed GM Oliver Barbosa to raise his output to 14.5 points.
GMs Eugene Torre and Rogelio Antonio remain in the hunt with 14.0 points. Torres defeated Giovanni Mejia while Antonio lost to Fide Master (FM) Haridas Pascua.
The event offers three outright slots to the men’s national team that will compete in this year’s World Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey on August 27 to September 10.
Top Filipino player GM Wesley So is already assured of a slot, while the National Chess Federation of the Philippines has the option to pick the fifth player of the men’s team.
Meanwhile, IM Catherine Perena downed Akiko Suede to maintain solo leadership in the women’s division with 19.0 points.
NM Janelle Mae Frayna kept the lead in sight with 17.0 points after toppling Mira Mirano.
The race for the third outright spot in the women’s Olympiad team became more interesting as NM Jedara Docena fell to FM Maria Antoinette San Diego, and Bernadette Galas lost to FM Rulp Ylem Jose.
Docena remained in third with 14.5 points and Galas in fourthw ith 14.0 points, but FM Cherry Ann Mejia and Jean Karen Enriquez are hot on their heels with 12.0 points each. By Marlon Bernardino