So keeps lead; Torre wins
Men’s individual standings after round 11:
8.0 – GM Wesley So
7.0 – IM Oliver Barbosa, GM Eugene Torre
6.5 – GM Rogelio Antonio Jr., GM Darwin Laylo, GM Joseph Sanchez, IM Richard Bitoon
5.5 – GM Mark Paragua, IM Rolando Nolte
4.5 – GM John Paul Gomez, GM Rolando Barcenilla
4.0 – IM Jan Emmanuel Garcia
3.0 – GM Roland Salvador
2.0 – IM Yves Ranola
Women’s individual standings after round 9:
8.0 – WFM Rulp Ylem Jose
6.5 – WNM Janelle Mae Frayna
6.0 – WFM Cherry Ann Mejia, WNM Jedara Docena, WIM Beverly Mendoza
5.0 – WIM Catherine Perena
4.0 – WNM Jan Jodilyn Fronda
3.5 – WFM Marie Antoinette San Diego
2.5 – Jenny Rose Palomo, Shania Mae Mendoza, Mira Mirano
1.5 – Rowelyn Acedo
GRANDMASTER Wesley So chose to play it safe against GM Mark Paragua in the 11th round yesterday in the National Chess Championships: 4th Battle of the Grandmasters at the National Press Club.
“Mark is a dangerous opponent. Hindi ka p’wedeng maging sobrang agresibo against him,” said So after halving the point with Paragua in 31 moves of Catalan.
The 17-year-old raised his total to 8.0 points, at least a full point ahead of everyone else in the tournament supported by Pilipinas Shell, Manila Pavilion Waterfront Hotel and Casino, Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, NPC, Remate and Hataw (JSY Publication).
But he’s not out of the woods yet with the way GM Eugene Torre is playing.
The living legend of Philippine chess held nothing back in his victory over International Master Richard Bitoon.
“I outplayed him in the opening and he was forced to give up a pawn for us to have opposite colored bishop,” said Torre.
Torre’s white bishop proved to be a lot more active to brush aside Bitoon’s bid for a draw, get the win after 69 moves of London System Opening, and gain a piece of second place with IM Oliver Barbosa with 7.0 points.
“Medyo mahirap na habulin si Wesley dahil two rounds to go na lang, but I will give it a try,” said Torre.
Barbosa earlier drew with GM Darwin Laylo after 31 moves of Queen’s Gambit Accepted.
Bitoon dropped into a share of fourth to seventh places with Laylo and GMs Rogelio Antonio and Joseph Sanchez at 6.5 points.
Antonio drew with IM Jan Emmanuel Garcia after 58 moves of English Opening while Sanchez agreed to a truce with GM John Paul Gomez after 45 moves of Slav Defense.
In other matches, IM Yves Ranola stunned Gm Rogelio Barcenilla, Jr. after 22 moves of Sicilian while IM Rolando Nolte downed GM Roland Salvador after 63 moves of Caro Kann.
In the distaff side, defending champion Woman FIDE Master Rulp Ylem Jose toppled WFM Marie Antoinette San Diego in the ninth round on Thursday to pull away from the rest of the field with 8.0 points. Jose, an MBA student at FEU-Makati, is 1.5 points ahead of her closest pursuer with two rounds to go.
Reigning national junior GU-20 champion Woman National Master Janelle Mae Frayna defeated WNM Jan Jodilyn Fronda to climb at solo second place with 6.5 points.
In other matches, WNM Jedara Docena stunned Woman International Master Beverly Mendoza; WNM Jenny Rose Palomo topped Mira Mirano; Shania Mae Mendoza scalped Rowelyn Joy Acedo; and WFM Cherry Ann Mejia split the point with WIM Catherine Perena.
The 10th and penultimate round in the women’s division is set late Friday.