So remains perfect in 4th Battle of GMs

 GRANDMASTER Wesley So remained perfect after four rounds in the National Chess Championships: 4th Battle of the Grandmasters.

Impressive start for anyone else except for So himself. The 17-year-old is always looking at the bigger picture.

“I wasn’t playing well. I made more mistakes than usual. Fortunately for me, my opponents are not taking advantage,” said So following his win over GM Rogelio Barcenilla in 45 moves of King’s Indian Defense yesterday at the National Press Club.

His 4.0 points is at least a full point ahead of the pack in the event supported by Pilipinas Shell, Manila Pavilion Waterfront Hotel and Casino, Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, NPC, Remate and Hataw (JSY Publication).

Grandmaster Darwin Laylo grabbed solo second spot after notching his second straight win, this time taking the scalp of GM Joseph Sanchez in 49 moves of Slav. He improved his total to 3.0 points.

International Masters Richard Bitoon, Rolando Nolte and Oliver Barbosa remained in the hunt for a GM norm after halving point with their respective opponents. They tote similar 2.5 points.

Bitoon split the point with GM Rogelio “Joey” Antonio, Jr. after 33 moves of Caro Kann; Nolte drew with GM Eugene Torre after 58 moves of Slav; and Barbosa escaped with a draw from a losing position against IM Jan Emmanuel Garcia after 50 moves of King’s Indian Defense.

GM John Paul Gomez, runner-up to So last year, finally notched a victory at the expense of IM Yves Ranola. He pushed his total to 2.0 points.

GM Mark Paragua drew with GM Roland Salvador in 31 moves of Slav to wrap up the fourth round.

In the distaff side, Woman FIDE Master Cherry Ann Mejia grabbed the solo lead by beating Jedara Docena on Sunday night. Mejia remained perfect after three rounds.

Erstwhile co-leaders WFM Rulp Ylem Jose, Woman National Master Janelle Mae Frayna and Woman International Master Catherine Perena failed to keep pace after halving the point with their respective opponents.

Jose drew with Shania Mae Mendoza; Frayna split the point with Jenny Rose Palomo; and Perena agrred to a ceasefire opposite Mira Mirano.

WIM Beverly Mendoza also halved the point with WFM Marie Antoinette San Diego.

The fourth round for women’s is slated late Monday.

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