International Master (IM) Emmanuel Senador grabs the top spot after five rounds in the 8th International Seniors Open Chess Championship at the CitiTel Midvalley in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Senador has 4.5 points on four wins and a draw in the tournament sanctioned by the World Chess Federation.
He defeated Paul Spiller of New Zealand in the opening round, Filipino Efren Bagamasbad in the second round, IM Jimmy Liew Chee-Meng of Malaysia in the fourth round and Grandmaster (GM) Dmitry Kayumov of Uzbekistan in the fifth round.
The draw came in third round against GM Alexei Barsov of Uzbekistan.
Filipino top seed GM Joey Antonio has four points to join Barsov and Indonesian IM Ronny Gunawan in three-way tie for second.
Antonio outclassed Jax Tham Tick Hong of Malaysia, IM Mikhail Vasilyev of Ukraine and Chee-Meng in the first three rounds then split the point with Kayumov and Barsov in the next couple of rounds.
The other Filipinos in the tournament are Alexander Milagros with 3.5 points for fifth; and Bagamasbad, Ed Gatus, Stewart Manaog, Carlo Lorena and Ireneo with three points each for share of ninth.
In the sixth round, Senador battles Antonio, Milagrosa takes on Michael Roy Freeman of New Zealand, Gatus tackles FM Ahmad Ismail of Malaysia, Manaog faces Lorena, and Bagamasbad meets Zainal Zaitul Ichlas of Indonesia.
The other crucial pairings are Barsov versus Gunawan, Kayumov versus Alexander Fominyh of Russia, and Vasilyev versus Timotius Wibowo Santoso of Indonesia.
Meanwhile, GM Darwin Laylo is in a group of 3.5-pointers for 14th place after five rounds in the 14th Dato Arthur Tan International Open Chess Championship also being held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
GM Jayson Gonzales, FIDE Master Stephen Rome Pangilinan, IM Oliver Dimakiling, IM Haridas Pascua, Roberth Franz Grafil, John Merill Jacutina, John Marvin Miciano and Daniel Quizon got three points each.
EMIL C. NOGUERA