Filipino Grandmaster (GM) Joey Antonio led the opening-round winners in the 2017 International Open Chess Championship being held at the Osborne Hall in Bacolod City.
Antonio outclassed untitled Jagadeesh Siddharth of Singapore to start his bid on a high note.
Top seed GM Nigel Short of Great Britain, third seed GM Tran Tuan Minh of Vietnam, fourth seed and former World Under 12 champion GM Srinath Narayanan of India, GM Nguyen Duc Hoa of Vietnam and International Master (IM) Tran Minh Thang of Vietnam also won against Filipino bets in their respective matches.
Short blasted Woman International Master (WIM) Jan Jodilyn Fronda, Minh defeated Xavier John Verdun, Narayanan toppled Rey Jomar Magallanes, Duc Hoa trounced Kevin Mirano and Thang outplayed Mark Mangubat.
Besides Antonio, the other Filipinos who scored first-round victories were IMs Ronald Dableo against WIM Marie Antoinette San Diego, Oliver Dimakiling against Marvin Ting, Kim Steven Yap against Michael Concio, and Chito Garma against Eden Tumbos.
Eighth seed GM Darwin Laylo, on the other hand, settled for a draw with unheralded Rolzon Roullo so as second pick GM Karen Grigoryan of Armenia, who split the point with untitled John Marvin Miciano.
In the second round, Antonio battles Emmanuel Emperado, Short takes on David Elorta, Minh faces Merben Roque, Narayanan tackles Rommel Ganzon, Thang goes up against Elwin Retanal, Dableo meets Edsel Montoya and Dimakiling fights Ellan Asuela.
Laylo hopes to bounce back against National Master Winston Joseph Silva while Grigoryan has Roullo as second-round opponent in the tournament sanctioned by the Asian Chess Federation.
The tournament offers $3,000 to the champion, $2,500 to the runner-up, $2,000 to the third placer, $1,5000 to the fourth placer and $1,000 to the fifth placer.
EMIL C. NOGUERA