26 April 2010

So scores again, grabs solo lead

Subic Bay Freeport - No opening gambit surprises Wesley So anymore.

Grandmaster Susanto Megaranto tried to waylay the Filipino GM with the Ruy Lopez-Marshall variation Sunday, but the ploy backfired as So exploited his familiarity with the opening to down the Indonesian star in the fifth round of the 9th Asian Individual Chess Championship here.

The 16-year-old So notched his fourth win against a lone draw after 38 moves and grabbed the solo lead with 4.5 points midway through the $50,000 tournament organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines at the Subic Exhibition and Convention Center.

“He has never used it against me, so he experimented,” said So, noting that he played the same line against Indian GM Anhijeet Gupta in a game that ended in a draw last year.

So said Megaranto committed an error on his 17th move, when he sacrificed a knight for two pawns instead of just developing his rook.

“I just want to make the top five,” said So, referring to the five slots to the 2011 World Chess Cup at stake in the championship.

“If possible I don’t want to drop a match,” added So, who’s skipping college this year to concentrate on chess.

Chinese GMs Li Chao and Ni Hua and Indian GM Narayanan Gopal stayed close behind So with 4.0 points.

Li stopped Allan Macala’s surprising run, Ni beat compatriot IM Yang Kaiqi while Gopal outplayed Filipino GM Darwin Laylo.

Fourth round co-leader GM Yu Yangyi of China was still trying to extract the full point against Gupta at presstime.

Also locked in a tight battle were Filipino GM Rogelio Antonio Jr. and Vietnamese IM Nguyen Thanh Son.

Two-time Olympian GM John Paul Gomez bounced back at 3.5 points with a victory over International Master Kirili Kuderinov of Kazakhstan.

Gomez, a mechanical engineering graduate from De La Salle University, landed in the company of Chinese GM Zhou Weiqi and untitled Yu Ruiyuan, who drew their match, Megaranto and Chinese GM Zhou Jianchao, who bested Filipino IM Oliver Barbosa.

Other Filipino bets who suffered setbacks were IM Rolando Nolte (2.0 points), IM Oliver Dimakiling, Emmanuel Senador (2), Rhobel Legaspi (1.5) and FM Julius de Ramos (1.5).

FM Haridas Pascua beat Mari Joseph Turqueza to improve to 2.5 points.

Asia’s first GM Eugene Torre finally ended his slump with a victory over countryman Deniel Causo. Torre, who was beaten by Mongolian FM Namkhai Battulga, however, was still way down in the standings with 2.0 points.

The unheralded Macala shared the limelight in the fourth round when he stunned GM Tu Hoang Thong of Vietnam and improved to 3.0 points with 11 others in the event supported by the Philippine Sports Commission, Pagcor, Department of Tourism, PCSO and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.

Macala, a mainstay of multi-titled Tagaytay City chess team of Mayor Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino rebounded from a third round loss to Chinese GM Ni Hua. Ranked 80th in the field, Macala has also beaten Indian WIM Dronavai Harika in the first round and Qatari GM Mohammed Al-Sayed by default in the second round.

Asian Zone 3.3 champion GM Darwin Laylo downed compatriot and fellow Olympian IM Oliver Dimakiling.

In other late results, Filipino GM John Paul Gomez drew with Indian FM Asghar Glizadeh of India, Filipino IM Oliver Barbosa halved the point with Iranian GM Ehsan Ghaemmaghami and national junior standout Jan Emmanuel Garcia agreed to a truce with Mongolian Bayarsaikhan Gundavaa.

The games in the top two boards are being shown live by way of ncfphilippines.org and the FIDE website. (Roy Luarca, Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Provisional fifth round leaders:
4.5—W. So; 4.0—C. Li (China), N. Geetha (India), H. Ni (China); 3.5 points— S. Megaranto (Indonesia), Y. Yu (China), J. Gomez, R. Yu (China), W. Zhou (China)