INTERNATIONAL MASTER Oliver Dimakiling is showing the form that made him a star in collegiate chess not too long ago in the ongoing 2012 National Open Chess Championships at the Paraw Club in Boracay.
The pride of Davao, anchor of De La Salle in numerous championship runs in UAAP chess, downed FIDE Master Haridas Pascua on Friday to grab the solo lead after eight rounds in the event dubbed as "Battle of the Grandmasters."
His overnight co-leaders GMs Rogelio "Joey" Antonio and Darwin Laylo failed to keep pace after losing to GMs Roland Salvador and Rogelio Barcenilla, respectively.
Dimakiling improved to 12.0 points while Antonio and Laylo were stuck at 10.0.
GM Mark Paragua climbed to solo second with 11.0 following his conquest of FM Randy Segarra while GM Eugene Torre kept himself in the hunt with 10.0 points after another draw, this time against top seed GM Oliver Barbosa.
The event is using the Torre-Pichay scoring system, a method formulated by Torre and National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) president/chairman Prospero "Butch" Pichay, Jr. where a win is equivalent to two points, a draw is one point, a loss is zero, and a stalemate is 1.5 for the last player to make a move and 0.5 to the player who can no longer make a move.
The top three finishers will gain outright seats in the men's national team competing in this year's World Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey on August 27 to September 10.
Top Filipino player GM Wesley So is already assured of a slot while NCFP has the option to pick the fifth player of the men's team.
Woman International Master Catherine Perena paced the women's division with 13.0 points followed by Woman FIDE Master Cherry Ann Mejia and Woman National Master Janelle Mae Frayna with 12.0 points each.
The top three finishers in the women's will gain outright seats to the Olympiad.
Supporting the event are the Boracay Chess Club, Aklan Gov. Carlito S. Marquez, Lone District of Aklan Rep. Florencio T. Miraflores, Club Paraw owned by Malay Councilor Hon. Wilbec M. Gelito and Willy's Beach Resort owned by Gen. Manager Rochanie G. Gadon, Kolai Mangyan owner Mr. Lowell Gucilo and Tawhay Condotel owner Arwen Barrios.