GRANDMASTER Darwin Laylo took the scalp of International Master Oliver Dimakiling to grab a share of the lead after three rounds in the 2012 National Open Chess Championships at the Paraw Club in Boracay.
The former national junior champion improved his total to 2.5 points, the same output of Grandmasters Rogelio "Joey" Antonio and Roland Salvador and FIDE Master Randy Segarra.
Antonio's winning run came to a halt following a draw with Asia's first GM Eugene Torre while Salvador and Segarra also split the point with their more illustrious opponents.
Salvador, who made waves in the European chess circuit, halved the point with top seed GM Oliver Barbosa while Segarra drew with veteran campaigner International Master Emmanuel Senador.
Torre was right behind the leaders with 2.0 points.
GMs Mark Paragua and John Paul Gomez also flexed their muscles in the third round after so-so performances in the first two.
Paragua toppled National Master Giovanni Mejia while Gomez defeated FM Roderick Nava. Both Paragua and Gomez pushed their totals to 1.5 points.
The event organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) offers P655,000 in prizes with the winner getting P150,000. GM and IM norms are also up for grabs.
The top three finishers will earn outright spots in the men's national team competing in this year's World Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey on August 27 to September 10.
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.