Oliver Barbosa, John Paul Gomez set up last-round push
Filipino Grandmasters Oliver Barbosa and John Paul Gomez wore down their respective foes in the 10th and penultimate round Sunday and looked all set to claim the championship of the 10th Parsvnath International Grandmasters Chess Tournament at Ludlow Castle Sports Complex in New Delhi.
Barbosa parlayed a brilliant attacking game to trounce countryman and erstwhile co-leader GM Mark Paragua in 33 moves of Gruenfeld defense while Gomez transformed a slight tactical advantage into a well-earned victory over Indian GM Deepan Chakkravarthy in 42 moves of a King’s Indian defense.
With just a round left in the Swiss system tournament, Barbosa and Gomez remained tied for the lead with 8.5 points apiece, half a point clear of the Indian trio of International Masters M.R. Lalith Babu, P. Shyam Nikil and K. Rathnakaran and China’s Ma Qun.
Paragua, in the lead with Barbosa and Gomez overnight, was stuck at 7.5 points and dropped into a six-man logjam for seventh place with Russian GM Evgeny Gleizerov, Ukrainian GM Martyn Kravtsiv, Indian GM Abhijit Kunte, and Indian IMs Vaibhav Suri and Vidit Santosh Gujrathi.
Cebuano GM Richard Bitoon crushed IM Sahu Sekhar Chandra of India to raise his total to 6.5 points, good for share of 34th to 58th places.
In Monday’s final round, Barbosa battles Shyam Nikil, Gomez takes on Ma, Paragua tackled Gleizerov and Bitoon duels with Kulkarni Chinmay of India.
“We hope that Oliver and John Paul can maintain their momentum in the final round,” said National Chess Federation of the Philippines chair and president Prospero “Butch” Pichay Jr.
The Filipinos’ Indian campaign, backed by the Philippine Sports Commission, is part of the Philippine team’s preparation for this year’s 38th World Chess Olympiad in Istanbul.
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