Georgian GM beats Sadorra for Philippine Int’l Chess lead
Grandmaster Levan Pantsulaia bested GM Julio Catalino Sadorra Sunday night and wrested top spot in the Philippine International Chess Championship at Celebrity Sports Plaza in Quezon City.
The third-ranked Georgian (Elo 2583) forced the United States-based Filipino to resign after 57 moves of their Grunfeld Defense encounter, raising his total to a perfect 3.0 points in the Open division of the nine-round tournament.
Pantsulaia, 28 years old like Sadorra, towed fellow GMs Merab Gagunashvili of Georgia, Anton Demchenko of Russia, Mikhail Mozharov of Russia and Oliver Barbosa of the Philippines and Fide Master Randy Segarra—all with 2.5 points.
Belying his 22nd ranking, Segarra, coach of the De La Salle University chess team, shocked Armenian GM Avetik Grigoryan in 58 moves of a Ruy Lopez to make his mark in the tournament sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission and Puregold.
Returning from a long campaign in the United States, Barbosa subdued Sheider Nebato in 27 moves of a Slav Defense to rebound into contention.
Playing on board one, Gagunashvili and Demchenko drew their match, while Mozharov also split the point with top seed Ivan Popov of Russia after 30 moves of a Scotch Game.
Popov (Elo 2622) was lodged at 2.0 points with Sadorra, Filipino GMs Darwin Laylo, Eugene Torre, Rogelio Antonio Jr. and John Paul Gomez, Filipino International Masters Kim Steven Yap and Haridas Pascua, Indian IM Narayanan Sunilduth Lyna, Fide Master Sander Severino and Merben Roque, who stunned GM Richard Bitoon.
Wary of each other’s strength, Gomez and Antonio agreed to a truce and so did Sunilduth Lyna and Severino.
Laylo whipped Roel Abelgas, Torre subdued FM Paulo Bersamina, Yap tamed IM Ronald Bancod, while Pascua trounced reigning Asian Hirls titlist WIM Mikee Charlene Suede, one of four females in the 38-player field.
Pantsulaia was handling black against Demchenko in the fourth round of the tournament being played at press time last night.
Other key matches pitted Barbosa against Gagunashvili, Segarra against Mozharov, Popov against Torre, Sadorra against Sunilduth Lyna, Yap against Gomez, Antonio against Roque, and Laylo against Pascua.
Tromso Olympian WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda drew with Raymond Salcedo to catch up with Suede at 1.0 point.