INTERNATIONAL Master Haridas Pascua stunned Russian Grandmaster Anton Demchenko yesterday to share the second round lead with seven others in the PSC-Puregold International Chess Challenge at Celebrity Sports Plaza in Quezon City.
The win over the second-seeded Demchenko gave Pascua, who downed Roger Sarip in the first round, 2.0 points, the same total of GMs Ivan Popov of Russia, Levan Pantsulaia of Georgia, Avetik Grigoryan of Armenia, John Paul Gomez, Darwin Laylo and Julio Catalino Sadorra of the Philippines, and IM Barlo Nadera, who shocked countryman GM Oliver Barbosa.
Popov subdued GM Richard Bitoon, Pantsulaia, winner of the just-concluded Philippine International Chess Championship, downed IM Jan Emmanuel Garcia; and Grigoryan beat GM Jayson Gonzales, the National Chess Federation of the Philippines executive director.
Gomez, highest-placed Filipino in the PH International Open division, whipped Noel Dela Cruz; Laylo bested Merben Roque, conqueror of Russian GM Mikhail Mozharov in the first round; while the United States-based Sadorra thwarted IM Oliver Dimakiling.
Despite handling black, the 21-year-old Pascua, stalwart of University of Baguio from Mangatarem, Pangasinan, prevailed over Demchenko after 74 moves of a Bird Opening.
Lodged at 1.5 points were Georgian GM Merab Gagushnavili, Filipino IM Paulo Bersamina, Indian IM Narayanan Sunilduth Lyna and Filipino GM Rogelio Antonio.
The 16-year-old Bersamina held Gagunashvili to a draw, while Sunilduth Lyna and Antonio prevailed over Michael Gotel and Woman Fide Master Shania Mae Mendoza, respectively.
The 10-round tournament sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission and Puregold lured 46 bets in the Open division and 120 entries in the Challenger's section. It is supported by Asia United Bank, Burlington, Celebrity Sports Plaza, Microtel and Harold's Hotel.
The third round of the $30,000 tournament was being played last night with the eight pacesetters tangling with one another.
The top-seeded Popov (Elo 2622) was pitted against Gomez, Pantsulaia against Laylo, Pascua against Grigoryan and Nadera against Sadorra.
Other second round results saw IM's Rolando Nolte and Kim Steven Yap play to a draw, Sheider Nebato split the point with Mozharov, FM Mari Joseph Torqueza draw with IM Emmanuel Senador and Onofre Espiritu beat Mongolian FM Sumiya Bilguun.