TAGAYTAY City -- Two-time Olympian Chito Garma settled for a quick draw with IM Petronio Roca even as defending champion GM Eugene Torre bounced back into contention in the seventh round of the 9th Asian Seniors Chess Championship at the Tagaytay International Convention Center here Friday.
Garma, who played white, and Roca split the point after only 22 moves to keep their 1-2 positions with six and 5.5 points, respectively, in the 34-player, nine-nation tournament organized by the Asian Chess Federation in cooperation with the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) and Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
“Tabla talaga. Mahirap pilitin, lalo na may two rounds pa,” said Garma, a veteran of the 1990 Novi Sad and 1992 Manila Olympiads who remained in the lead with five wins and two draws.
The 54-year-old Garma had a queen, bishop and six pawns against Roca's queen, knight and the same number of pawns when the game was drawn.
Torre subdued FM Adrian Pacis to keep his title-retention bid alive with five points on four wins, two draws and only one loss.
The 67-year-old Filipino champion, who lost to Garma in the fifth round and drew with No. 2 seed FM Oleg Rinas of Kazakhstan the following round, is a full point behind Garma with two rounds remaining.
Tied with Torre in third to fifth places with five points are Rinas, who outplayed Rolzon Roullo; and Haifa Olympiad veteran Cesar Caturla, who drew with balikbayan IM Angelo Young.
Former national junior champion Stewart Manaog bested fellow NM Carlo Lorena to join Young with 4.5 points in the annual competition hosted by the Tagaytay City government thru Cavite 7th District Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino Jr. and Tagaytay City Mayor Agnes Tolentino.
NM Rosendo Bandal outclassed Kuanishbek Junadullayev of Kazakhstan to lead eight other players with four points.
A total of 34 players from nine countries -- Australia, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Palestine and host the Philippines -- are seeing action in the tournament.
Tournament director Mike Lapitan said the champion will pocket the lion's share of $500.
Patrick Lee is the supervising arbiter, assisted by Elias Lao, Lito Abril and Hubert Estrella.