16 November 2015

Ukrainian GM stuns top seed, wins int'l chess fest in Subic

GRANDMASTER Vitaly Sivuk of Ukraine racked up his third straight win – and his biggest in the tournament – to emerge as the undisputed champion in the 2015 Philippine International Chess Championship after the 10th and final round Saturday at the Subic Bay Peninsular Hotel in Subic Bay Freeport.

Sivuk, the no. 11 seed, stunned top seed and erstwhile solo leader GM Abijheet Gupta of India after 42 moves of a Gruenfeld Defense to bring his total to seven points and take home the top prize of $5,000.

In all, the 23-year-old Ukranian tallied seven points on five wins, four draws and a loss, which came against GM Anton Demchenko of Russia in the 6th round.

Four other players – Demchenko, fellow GM Anton Shomoev, Chinese GM and 5th seed Shanglei Lu of China and GM Chakkravarthy Deepan of India had a chance to forge a tie for the overall lead but their games all ended in draw, with Lu splitting the point with Demchenko and Deepan settleing for a draw with Shomoev.

The four dropped into a seven-way tie with Gupta and final-round winners GM Narayanan Sinulduth Lyna of India and Russian GM Boris Savchenko with 6.5 points each.

Sinulduth Lyna, who had 5.5 points going into the final round, turned back Filipino GM Joey Antonio in 31 moves of an Anti-Nimzo Indian, while Savchenko defeated International Master Chen Lin of China after 36 moves of a Mieses Variation of the Scandinavian.

Lin and no. 3 seed GM Pavel Smirnov of Russia, who beat compatriot GM Vladimir Belous in 34 moves of a Benko Gambit Accepted, dropped into a two-way tie with six points each.

International Master Rolando Nolte and 17-year-old NM Jerad Docena, meanwhile, emerged as the top Filipino finishers in the tournament organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines and supported by the Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, Puregold, Asian United Bank and Burlington Socks. Marc Ventures Holdings, Inc. and Marc Ventures Mining and Development Corporation.

Nolte drew his final round against GM Eugene Torre after 21 moves of the Knights Variation of the Indian Game, while Docena outsteadied IM Abhimanyu Puranik of India in 67 moves of a King’s Indian Attack to end up with similar 5.5 points in tie with no. 2 seed GM Alexander Zubov of Ukraine and GM Mikhail Mozharov of Russia.

A half point behind is a large group of five-pointers composed of GM Vladimir Belous of Russia, GM Doc Hoa Nguyen of Vietnam, Torre, GM Joey Antonio, reigning national champion GM Richard Bitoon, IM Paulo Bersamina and GM Tigran Kotanjian of Armenia.

Woman International Master Janelle Mae Frayna duplicated her feat last year after emerging as the best Filipina female player after finishing with four points.

In the Challenger Division, WFM Shania Mae Mendoza and Lennon Hart Salgados ended up tied with seven points after nine rounds, but Mendoza earned the title via the tiebreak.

Mendoza downed Christopher Diaz in 33 moves of a Nimzowitsch Defense, while Salgados halved the point against Paul Robert Evangelista in a Slav Defense, Exchange variation.

The second tournament, PSC/PUREGOLD International Chess Challenge reels off Saturday, at the same venue.

GRANDMASTER Vitaly Sivuk of Ukraine