Segarra heads Filipinos’ charge
Randy Segarra practices what he preaches.
Showing that he’s also adept as a player, the chess coach of De La Salle University held the fort against Belarusian Grandmasters Kirill Stupak and Vladislav Kolalev to lead the Filipinos’ challenge in the Philippine International Chess Championships at Subic Bay Peninsular Hotel in Olongapo, Zambales.
Segarra stunned Stupak in the first round Tuesday night and drew with Kovalev in the second round yesterday to tally 1.5 points, tailing top-seeded Chinese GM Wang Hao and Georgian GMs Mikheil Mchedishvili, Merab Gagunashvili and Levan Pantsulaia, all with 2.0 points.
Also carrying the fight for the Philippines with 1.5 points are GM John Paul Gomez and International Masters Paulo Bersamina, Ronald Bancod and Emmanuel Senador.
Ranked 27th out of 39 bets, Segarra bested Stupak in 46 moves of a Caro-Kann Defense and drew with No. 6 Kovalev in 30 moves of a Queen’s Pawn: London System.
“My preparation and a little bit of luck also helped me,” said the 38-year-old Segarra, a La Salle alumni who works at RCBC, in Filipino.
Segarra, named UAAP MVP when La Salle won the title in 1999, also upset Armenian GM Avetik Grigorian in the tournament’s 2014 edition.
The third round is being played last night with Segarra battling No. 2 seed GM Anton Demchenko of Russia.
Top board matches put Hao against Mchedishvili and Gagunashvili against Pantsulaia.
Gomez, the highest-ranked Filipino in the fold at No. 9 split the point with Senador and then beat WIM Bernadette Galas. —ROY LUARCA
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