GRANDMASTERS Rogelio "Joey" Antonio and Darwin Laylo defeated separate rivals in the fifth round on Wednesday to stay on top of the 2012 National Open Chess Championships at the Paraw Club in Boracay.
Antonio, a 12-time national champion from Oriental Mindoro, crushed FIDE Master Randy Segarra while Laylo, a former national junior champion, subdued International Master Emmanuel Senador to push their total to 8.0 points with three wins and two draws each.
GM Mark Paragua kept them within reach after scoring his third straight win, this time taking the scalp of GM Julio Catalino Sadorra. He now has 7.0 points on three wins, one draw and one loss.
Top seed GM Oliver Barbosa, qualifier IM Oliver Dimakiling and Asia's first GM Eugene Torre were another point behind with 6.0 points.
Barbosa trounced FM Roderick Nava; Dimakiling downed Richard Bitoon; and Torre drew with GM Rogelio Barcenilla.
The event organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) offers three 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 as well as P655,000 total prize.
Top Filipino player GM Wesley So (Elo 2650) is already assured of a slot while the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) headed by chairman/president Prospero "Butch" Pichay, Jr. has the option to pick the fifth player of the men's team.
In the distaff side, Bernadette Galas and Jean Karen Enriquez shared the lead with 8.0 points. Woman International Master Catherine Perena and Woman National Masters Janelle Mae Frayna and Jan Jodilyn Fronda were right behind them with 7.0 apiece.
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.