Gomez closes in on Battle of the GMs title
MANILA, Philippines – With the crown just two games away, Grand Master (GM) John Paul Gomez protected his lead in the men’s division of the 2013 Battle of the Grand Masters Chess Championship at the Philippine Sports Commission in Vito Cruz, Manila.
Gomez split the point with defending champion GM Mark Paragua in the 11th round of the tournament, with both players agreeing to a draw after 31 moves of Slav defense.
With 27.0 points, Gomez needs to beat GM Oliver Barbosa in round 12 and Fide Master Roderick Nava in round 13 to clinch the title in the event organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP).
Barbosa had defeated GM Eugene Torre after 55 moves of Nimzo-Indian defense to raise his total to 25.5 points, good for second place.
At third place is 12-time National Open champion GM Rogelio Antonio Jr., who beat International Master (IM) Emmanuel Senador after 44 moves of Caro-Kann defense.
Antonio now has 22.5 points, half a point ahead of GM Darwin Laylo, who defeated Nation Master Narquinden Reyes after 24 moves of Slav defense.
US-based GM Rogelio Barcenilla defeated FM Jony Habla after 34 moves of King’s Indian defense to move to solo fifth place with 19.5 points, followed by Paragua with 17.0 points, IM Joel Pimentel with 16.5 points and Nava with 15.0 points.
Torre, Senador, GM Richard Bitoon and IM Richilieu Salcedo III have 13.5 points each, while Reyes notched 7.5 points. Habla is the cellar dweller with 4.5 points.
In the women’s division, IM Janelle Mae Frayna routed IM Bernadette Galas after 72 mvoes of English Opening. She now has 28.5 points, 4.5 points ahead of last year’s champion IM Catherine Perena, and IM Beverly Mendoza.
Perena defeated Gladys Hazelle Romero in round 11 after 31 moves of Slave defense, while Mendoza edged Arvie Lozana after 28 moves of Dutch defense.
NCFP executive director GM Jayson Gonzales is the tournament director, while IA Gene Poliarco is the chief arbiter. By Marlon Bernadino.