FORMER Asian Junior champion IM Ricky de Guzman and GM John Paul Gomez and WGM Janelle Mae Frayna came through with much-needed victories in the seventh round to boost their chances in the 17th Asian Continental Chess Championships-2nd Manny Pacquiao Cup at the Tiara Oriental Hotel in Makati.
De Guzman, ranked only 46th with an ELO of 2357 in his first major international tournament back home, outclassed FM Yoseph Theolifus Taher of Indonesia while Gomez, the highest–rated Filipino player in the tournament with an ELO of 2450, outduelled compatriot GM Rogelio Antonio, Jr., to vault into a tie for 18th to 26th places with four points.
That’s only one and a half points behind GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly of India and GM M. Amin Tabatabaei of Iran with still two rounds left in this prestigious, nine-round competition sanctioned by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) and sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and Sen. Manny Pacquiao.
Six others players,led by GM Wei Yi of China and GM Le Quang Liem of Vietnam, are tied for third to eighth places with five points, while nine other chessers, led by top seed GM Wang Hao of China, are bunched at ninth to 17th places with 4.5 points.
The win by e Guzman, the 57-year-old veteran of three World Chess Olympiads, came a day after he drew with former women’s world champion GM Tan Zhongyi of China.
Gomez, on the other hand, has scored four points in the last five rounds after starting the tournament with a loss to Yi and defaulting his second round match with IM Daniel Quizon.
GM Darwin Laylo downed IM Roderick Nava and IM Paulo Bersamina whipped Yuxin Song of China to lead a big group of players with 3.5 points.
In the women’s division, Frayna outwitted WFM Allaney Jia Doroy in an all-Filipina encounter to boost her chances of finishing in the top 10.
The 22-year-old Frayna is now in a five-player tie at 12th place with four points and could barge into the top 10 if she could hurdle WFM Dita Karenza, who trounced WFM Aashna Makhija of India, in the eighth round.
It was the second straight win for Frayna, the country’s first WGM eyeing to become the first Filipina to gain a men’s GM title, after she bested WFM Aay Aisyah Anisa of Indonesia the round before.
IM Rout Padmini of India split the point with IM Guo Qi of China to keep the solo lead with six points.
A full point behind Padmini are IM Pham Le Thao Nguyen of Vietnam, WGM Gong Qianyun of Singapore and WGM Wang Jue of China.
Z. Tan (China) vs. R. de Guzman (Philippines)
1.c4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.e4 Bg7 5.Be2 Nc6 6.Nf3 O-O 7.O-O e5 8.d5 Ne7 9.Nd2 c5 10.Rb1 b6 11.b4 cxb4 12.Rxb4 Nd7 13.a4 f5 14.a5 Nc5 15.axb6 axb6 16.Na4 Ra6 17.Nxc5 bxc5 18.Ra4 Qb6 19.Rxa6 Qxa6 20.Bb2 Bd7 21.Qb3 Bh6 22.f4 Bxf4 23.Rxf4 exf4 24.Qc3 Kf7 25.Bf1 Ke8 26.e5 dxe5 27.Qxe5 Kd8 28.Qb8+ Nc8 29.Qxf4 Nd6 30.Be5 Nf7 31.Bc3 Qd6 32.Qf2 Ba4 33.Nf3 g5 34.Bd2 f4 35.Bc1 Re8 36.Qa2 g4 37.Nd4 cxd4 38.Qxa4 Qb6 39.Ba3 Re1 40.Bb4 d3+ 41.c5 Ra1 42.Qxa1 Qxb4 43.Qa8+ Ke7 44.Qa7+ Kf8 45.Qa8+ Kg7 46.Qa1+ Kf8 47.Qa8+ Kg7 48.Qa1+ Kf8 49.Qa8+ Kg7 1/2-1/2