International Master (IM) Paulo Bersamina led the seven-way tie on top after third round of the 2016 National Chess Championship – Battle of the Grandmasters being held at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila.
Bersamina has two points on one win and two draws to join Asia’s first GM Eugene Torre and GM Joey Antonio in the early lead. The other players with two points are IM Chito Garma, Grandmaster (GM) Jayson Gonzales, untitled John Marvin Miciano and National Master (NM) Hamed Nouri.
The 18-year-old Bersamina outclassed FIDE Master Narquinden Reyes in the first round then agreed to a draw with Torre in the second round and Nouri in the third round.
Torre, for his part, clobbered NM Emmanuel Emperado in the opening round and split the point with Reyes in the third round while Antonio drew with GM Rogelio Barcenilla in the first and split the point with GM John Paul Gomez in the second and Emperado in the third.
In eighth place are Gomez, Barcenilla and GM Darwin Laylo with 1.5 points each while Reyes and IM Haridas Pascua are in 11th position with one point apiece.
In the fourth round, Bersamina takes on Antonio, Torre battles Nouri, Laylo meets Gomez, Barcenilla fights GM Jayson Gonzales and Emperado tackles Garma.
The top three players after the 13-round tournament will represent the country in the prestigious 42nd World Chess Olympiad slated on September 1 to 14 in Baku, Azerbaijan.
GM Julio Catalino Sadorra is already assured of a slot in the four-man Philippine team to the Olympiad being the country’s highest-ranked player with 2531 rating.
He was also part of the tem that placed 46th in the 2014 Olympiad held in Tromso, Norway.