12 December 2016

Belarussian, Chinese GMs share lead in PH chess tilt

Sixth seed Grand Master Vladislav Kovalev of Belarus downed woman GM Lei Tingjie of China in 60 moves of a Benoni last Friday to snatch a share of the lead after five rounds in the Philippine International Chess Championship at the Peninsular Hotel in Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Zambales.

Kovalev is now tied with China's GM Wang Hao.

(left to right) GM Vladislav Kovalev of Belarus; GM Lei Tingjie and GM Wang Hao of China

Wang, owner of a tournament-best 2678 FIDE rating, demolished Armenian GM Tingran Kontajian in just 67 moves of super-sharp Sicilian showdown, has four points in the tournament.

The 13th seed Lei had shocked No. 4 GM Levan Pentsulaia of Georgia in the fourth round to zoom to the top spot. However, with her loss to Kovalev, she is now tied for third place along with Russian GMs Boris Savchenko and Anton Demchenko, Georgian GM Merab Gagunashvili and Pentsulaia with 3.5 points apiece.

Savchenko and Demchenko fought to a 55-move draw of a Ruy Lopez-Steinitz Defense; Gagunashvili agreed to a quick 14-move standoff with Georgian GM Mikheil Mchedlishvili of a Queen's Pawn Game; and Pentsulaia smashed Filipino International Master Oliver Dimakiling 52 moves of a Zukefort Opening.

Grandmaster John Paul Gomez and IMs Haridas Pascua and Paulo Bersamina sustained the Philippine's campaign by drawing their fifth round games to stay just a full point behind the leaders in the nine-round event.

(left to right) GM John Paul Gomez, IM Haridas Pascua and IM Paulo Bersemina of the Philippines

Gomez and Pascua split the point in 30 moves of a Trompovsky Attack while Bersamina halved the point with IM Subbaraman Vijayalakshmi of India 24 moves of a King's Indian duel.

GM Joey Anontio and IM Jan Emmanuel Garcia also drew 31 moves of a Slav to stay in a group with 2.5 points each in the meet.  (ABS-CBN Sports)