Barbosa takes control in La Union Open

GRANDMASTER Oliver Barbosa stamped his class over FIDE Master Paulo Bersamina in the seventh round to maintain solo leadership in the 7th La Union Open Chess Championships on Wednesday at the Ortega Gym in San Fernando City, La Union.

His victory after 45 moves of Caro-Kann pushed his total to 6.5 points, a full point ahead of closest pursuers GM Darwin Laylo and International Master Oliver Dimakiling.

Barbosa began to separate himself from the pack by beating erstwhile co-leader Laylo in the fifth round. He drew his sixth round match opposite GM Rogelio “Joey” Antonio, Jr.

Laylo applied a little pressure to Barbosa in the sixth round by beating Andrew Casiano, but settled for a draw against IM Rolando Nolte after 25 moves of Queen’s Indian in the following round.

Dimakiling, on the other hand, stunned Antonio after 39 moves of Petroff to catch Laylo.

The other players with mathematical chances to win with 5.0 points were Nolte, IMs Ronald Dableo and Emmanuel Senador, National Master Nelson Villanueva and Ronald Adaya.

The tournament sanctioned by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) marks the first time in local chess that a rapid competition is rated by the World Chess Federation (FIDE).

Also at stake in the event supported by Governor Manuel C. Ortega of La Union, Mayor Pablo C. Ortega of San Fernando City, Rep. Victor F. Ortega, Abono Partylist Rep. Francisco Emmanuel R. Ortega and official hotel Villa Estrella Resort are the prizes for the top non-master; top lady, senior (above 50 years old), junior (15 to 20 years old) and kiddie (14 years old and below); and the top three players from La Union.

The event coinciding with the month-long celebration of the 162nd Foundation Anniversary of La Union and the 14th Anniversary of San Fernando’s cityhood offers P50,000 to the champion, P25,000 to second and P15,000 to third. There will be prizes down to the 50th placer. Noli Cruz

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