MANILA---Grandmaster Mark Paragua agreed to a draw with GM Baskaran Adhiban of India in their seventh-round match to stay on top and share the lead with over-night co leader GM Li Chao of China and GM Marat Dzhumaev of Uzbekistan in the on-going $100,000 Manny Pacquiao Cup Asian Continental Chess Championship at the Midas Hotel and Casino on Friday night.
Playing black, Paragua split the point with Adhiban after 39 moves of Double Fianchetto Opening to raise his total 5.5 points, the same output of Li and Dzhumaev.
"Pinilit ko pong manalo kaso nauwi talaga sa tabla eh," said Paragua.
Li, handling the white pieces halved the point with US based GM Julio Catalino Sadorra after 42 moves of Gruenfeld defense while Dzhumaev defeated GM John Paul Gomez after 53 moves of Dutch defense.
"Bagama't one pawn down po ako, kaso opposite bishop kaya tabla po talaga," said Sadorra.
The nine-round Swiss System event offering $100,000 in prizes is organized by the GM Eugene Torre Chess Foundation and is sponsored by eight-division world boxing champion and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao, Cafe Puro, Alaxan, Oriental and Motolite Corp. is held under the auspices of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines headed by it's Chairman/President Prospero "Butch" Pichay Jr., Secretary-General newly-elected Cavite 7th district Rep. Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino Jr., Asian Chess Federation and FIDE (World Chess Federation).
Stalking the pacesetters with 4.0 points each were Sadorra, Adhiban, GM Oliver Barbosa of the Philippines, top seed GM Le Quang Liem of Vietnam, GM Krishnan Sasikiran of India, GM Subramanian Arun Prasad of India and GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son of Vietnam.
In other matches saw, Barbosa outclassed IM Wan Yunguo of China after 40 moves of Gruenfeld defense; Le drew with Prasad after 67 moves of Queen's Indian defense; Sasikiran subdued countryman GM Gopal after 44 moves of Modern defense and Ngoc Truong Son crushed IM Firman Syah Farid of Indonesia after 33 moves of Ruy Lopez Opening.
In the eight round, Dzhumaev will meet Le on board one, Sasikiran opposite Paragua on board two, Le goes up against Sadorra on board three, Ngoc Truong Son versus Adhiban on board four and Barbosa will face Prasad on board five.
In the women's play, WGM Huang Qian of China defeated WIM Chelsie Monica Sihite of Indonesia to create a seven-way tie for first with IM Batkhuyag Munguntuul of Mongolia, WGM Guo Qi of China, WGM Mary Ann Gomes of India, IM Pham Le Thao Nguyen of Vietnam, WGM Tan Zhongyi of China and WGM Wang Jue of China with 5.0 points each.