So, Laylo stay alive in Campo Cup crown
WORLD Chess Olympiad-bound GMs Wesley So and Darwin Laylo pulled off inspiring victories over their respective rivals late Tuesday night to stay within striking distance in the sixth round of the first former FIDE president Florencio Campomanes Memorial Cup chess championships at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.
So shrugged off a heartbreaking setback to top seed GM Le Quang Liem of Vietnam in the fifth round early in the day to subdue compatriot Oliver Barbosa and bounce back into contention with 4.5 points on four wins, one draw and one loss in this prestigious, nine-round tournament which attracted 72 players from 14 countries.
The 16-year-old Filipino champion, who is set to lead the country to the coming World Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia later this month, played almost flawlessly with the white pieces to clinch the win in less than four hours of play.
And Laylo, ever so eager to capture his first major international title at home, pulled the rug from under fifth seed GM Chanda Sandipan of India to stay in the hunt for the US$10,000 top prize out of the guaranteed purse of US$100,000 put up by FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.
“With still three rounds left, it’s still anybody’s race,” said So, who is fresh from respectable showings in the Biel Young GMs tournament in Biel, Switzerland and the Rising Stars vs Experience tournament in Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands in the last two months.
The twin victories enabled So and Laylo to vault into an eight-way tie for second to 10th places with 4,5 points, only half a point behind surprise leader No. 11 seed GM Zhao Jun of China with still three full rounds left.
Zhao, one of seven Chinese players in the field, continued his remarkable run when he upstaged compatriot GM Li Chao to take a one-point lead with 5.5 points on five wins and one draw.
The 11th-seeded Zhao and the second-seeded So are set to collide in a crucial seventh-round encounter late Wednesday.
GM Zhou Jianchao of China subdued IM Richard Bitoon and GM Zhang Zhong of Singapore outwitted GM John Paul Gomez in other keenly-followed sixth-round matches to join GM Ling Diren of China, GM Merab Gagunashvili of Georgia, So, GM Ehsan Ghaemmaghami of Iran, Le, GM Murtas Kazhgaleyev of Kazakhstan, Laylo and Zhang with 4.5 points.
Ding drew with Le, Ghaemmaghami halved point with Kazhgaleyev and GM Ni Hua of China split the point with Gagunashvili
Seven players, led by newly-crowned Pichay Cup champion GM Anton Filippov of Uzbekistan and Asia’s first GM Eugene Torre, trailed closely behind with four points.
Filippov crushed IM Sadikin Irwanto of Indonesia while Torre overwhelmed FM Randy Segarra to join the group of Ni, Li and three others.
Also with four points are GM Jayson Gonzales, who outclassed Reggie Olay; NM Emmanuel Senador, who toppled GM Tamaz Gelashvili of Georgia; and GM Dashzegve Sharavdorj of Mongolia, who bested David Elorta. Elech Dawa