Russian GM forces six-way tie on top in Subic chess

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Third seed Grandmaster (GM) Boris Savchenko of Russia downed fourth pick GM Levan Pentsulaia of Georgia in 60 moves of a Zukefort Opening to zoom to the top along with two others after six rounds of the Philippine International Chess Championships at Subic Bay Peninsular Hotel in Zambales on Saturday.

Savchenko’s win sent him to a three-way tie at No. 1 along with top seed GM Wang Hao of China and No. 6 GM Vladislav Kovalev of Belarus in this nine-round tournament sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission under chairman Butch Ramirez, Burlington, Marc Adventures Mining Inc. and Puregold.

Hao gained an early positional edge but ended up drawing his game with second pick GM Anton Demchenko of Russia in 30 moves of a razor-sharp Sicilian showdown.

Kovalev likewise could not take advantage on his early slight positional edge and agreed to a 38-move standoff with Georgian GM Merab Gagunashvili of the Ruy Lopez.


The draw kept Savchenko in a group of woodpushers with four points that included Gagunashvili and Woman GM Lei Tingjie, who fought Filipino GM John Paul Gomez to a 19 moves of another Zukefort Opening.

Gomez, the highest ranked local bet in this event being seeded ninth, remained a full point behind the leaders with 3.5 points.

Three more Filipinos were part of that group, IM Haridas Pascua, who escaped with a 37-move deadlock with No. 5 GM Mikheil Mchedishvili of Georgia of a King’s Indian, IM Paulo Bersamina, who split the point with GM Jha Sririam of India in 18 moves of a Ruy Lopez, and IM Jan Emmanuel Garcia, bested IM Ronald Bancod in 71 moves of a Ruy Lopez.

In other results, IM Chito Garma dismantled Manny Yu’s French Defense in 76 moves, IM Janelle Mae Frayna drew with Singaporean FIDE Master Lee Qing Aun in 30 moves of a Benko Gambit, IM Emmanuel Senador trounced Emmanuel Emperado in 32 moves of a Polish Opening, and WIM Bernadette Galas smashing Rodolfo Panopio, Jr.’s Caro-kann in 33 moves.

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