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So, Nguyen share lead after 6th rd

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TAGAYTAY CITY—Grandmaster Darwin Laylo split the point with reigning champion GM Susanto Megaranto of Indonesia last night as they kept their bid alive in the Asian Zone 3.3 Chess Championship at Tagaytay International Convention Center.

Smarting from their 2011 collision in the same event that saw him lose the full point despite positional advantage, Laylo played with caution this time and agreed to a draw with Megaranto after 30 moves of a Neo Gruenfeld Defense.

Third seed GM Rogelio “Joey” Antonio was at 5.0 points after seven rounds following a draw with Round 6 co-leader GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son, who momentarily took the lead with 5.5 points.

Laylo and Megaranto rose to 4.5 points.

Filipino top seed GM Wesley So, the co-leader with Nguyen after six rounds with 5.0 points, was still trying to extract the full point against Vietnamese IM Nguyen Duc Hoa at presstime.

Filipino GMs Mark Paragua and John Paul Gomez also stayed in the running for the two World Chess Cup berths at stake in the tournament by subduing their respective rivals and catching up with Laylo and Megaranto at 4.5 points.

Paragua, winner of the recent PSC Cup International Chess Championship, prevailed over GM Richard Bitoon while Gomez conquered Vietnamese Fide Master Tran Tuan Minh.

Other seventh round matches saw GMs Rogelio Barcenilla and Dao Thien Hai of Vietnam split the point, same with GM Eugene Torre and FM Haridas Pascua. They climbed to 4.0 points with untitled Michael Gotel, who bested Rustum Tolentino.

In the sixth round Saturday night, So settled for a draw with Megaranto, enabling Nguyen to catch up with him.

Nguyen downed Paragua in 28 moves of a Gruenfeld Defense while So split the point with many-time victim Megaranto after 51 moves of a Slav defense.

“It’s risky to push for a win,” said So, who took a break from his studies at Webster University in the United States. “It was really a fighting draw.”

Antonio subdued Mongolian Fide Master Gombosuren Munkhgal after 58 moves of Nimzo-Indian Defense.

Gundavaa, just waiting for the confirmation of his GM title, bested IM Barlo Nadera after 47 moves of a French Defense; Laylo drew with Duc Hoa after 43 moves of a Gruenfeld, while Cao whipped FM Mari Joseph Turqueza after 19 moves of a Queens Pawn Game.

Torre bounced back with a victory over Manny Yu in Round 6 but dropped out of contention following a draw with FM Haridas Pascua with only two rounds to go in the tournament hosted by Tagaytay Mayor Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, also the Asian Zone 3.3 president.

Women’s division action saw Vietnamese WGM Nguyen Thi Thanh An draw with Indonesian WIM Warda Aulia Medina to keep the solo lead with 5.0 points after six rounds.

The Philippines’ Bernadette Galas stunned Vietnamese WGM Pham Le Thao Nguyen to stay in the hunt for the lone Women’s World Championship slot up for grabs. Galas, a 16-year-old senior of Gen. Pio del Pilar High School in Makati, rose to 4.0 points in a tie with Medina and Mongolian IM Munguntuul Bathkhuyag.


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