Demchenko holds off Laylo, snares Int’l Challenge title
RUSSIAN Grandmaster Anton Demchenko bested Filipino GM Darwin Laylo in the 10th and final round yesterday to snare the PSC-Puregold International Chess Challenge title at Celebrity Sports Plaza in Quezon City.
Streaking to his fifth win, the second-seeded Demchenko (Elo 2611) posted 8.0 points, besting the 7.5 of top-seeded compatriot Popov (2622), who drew with Georgian GM Merab Gagusnavili after 11 moves of a Ruy Lopez Berlin Defense.
Handling white, Demchenko forced Laylo to resign after 40 moves of an Scandinavian Defense, enabling him to overtake Popov and capture the top purse of $5,000 in the $30,000 tournament sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission and Puregold.
Veteran GM Rogelio Antonio and United States-based GM Julio Catalino Sadorra drew their French Defense encounter after 30 moves and finished with 6.5 each, the same total of Georgian GM Levan Pantsulaia, GM John Paul Gomez, International Master Haridas Pascua and Indian IM Narayanan Sunilduth Lyna.
When the tiebreak was applied, however, Pantsulaia, winner of last week’s Philippine International Chess Championship, nailed third place.
The 28-year-old Sadorra, now the country’s highest rated player (2575) following the transfer of Super GM Wesley So to the United States Chess Federation, landed fourth followed by Gomez, Pascua, Sunilduth Lyna, Gagunashvili, and Antonio.
Pantsulaia tamed GM Oliver Barbosa in 66 moves of a Reti Opening and Pascua crushed Garcia in 56 moves of a Modern Benoni Four Pawns Attack.
The 21-year-old Pascua, standout of University of Baguio and pride of Mangatarem, Pangasinan, secured his first GM result.
Gomez drew with Sunilduth Lyna after 11 moves of another Ruy Lopez Open Berlin Defense.
Though Laylo remained at 6.0 points in the company of IM Oliver Dimakiling and Russian GM Mikhail Mozharov, the three-time Olympian clinched 10th place by virtue of a higher tiebreak in the tournament supported by Asia United Bank, Celebrity Sports Plaza, Burlington, Microtel and Harold’s Hotel.
WIM Janelle Mae Frayna scored 4.5 points and emerged best performer among five females who joined the Open division of the tournament organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines.
NCFP president/chair Prospero “Butch” Pichay graced the closing ceremonies with vice president for Luzon lawyer Ruel Canobas and executive director GM Jayson Gonzales, who scored 5.0 points despite being inactive for three years.
Kevin Merano tallied 8.5 points to rule the Challengers Section confined to players with Elo below 2200.
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