Hao seizes solo lead in Subic
Subic—Chinese Grandmaster Wang Hao continued to sow terror in the field Thursday night, taming Georgian GM Levan Pantsulaia for the solo lead in the PSC-Puregold International Chess Challenge at Subic Bay Peninsular Hotel in Olongapo, Zambales.
Living up to his top billing, Wang triumphed in 41 moves of a Sicilian Kann Variation to pad his total to 4.5 points after five rounds, towing Belarusian GM Vladislav Kovalev, who climbed to 4.0 points following a 77-move conquest of Indian IM Abhimanyu Puranik in a Ruy Lopez-Averbakh.
Bunched at 3.5 points were Pantsulaia, Russian GM Boris Savchenko, Georgian GM Merab Gagunashvili and Chinese Woman GM Lei Tingle, who completed the requirements for a GM title in last week’s Philippine International Challenge won by Hao.
The third-seeded Savchenko downed IM Jan Emmanuel Garcia in 67 moves of a Gruenfeld Simagin Variation; Gagunashvili bested Vietnamese IM Tuan Minh Tran; while Lei, being mentored by Wang, bested Asia’s first GM Eugene Torre in 46 moves of a Torre Attack, Fianchetto Defense.
Trailing the pacesetters are eight 3.0 pointers, including Filipino GMs Mark Paragua, Rogelio Antonio Jr. and Darwin Laylo and resurgent Paulo Bersamina.
Also with the same total are No. 2 seed GM Anton Demchenko of Russia, Puranik, Georgian GM Mikheil Mchedishvili and Belarusian GM Kirill Stupak.
Paragua and Demchenko forged a draw in 37 moves of a Trompovsky Attack while Antonio and Kirill split the point in 60 moves of a French Defense Petrosian.
Rebounding from a fourth-round loss, Laylo trounced Indian Harshit Raja in 51 moves of a QID-Karpov-Petrosian Variation. —ROY LUARCA