Russian Grandmaster Boris Savchenko defeated GM Lu Shanglei of China to widen his lead in the 8th round of the PSC/Puregold International Chess challenge held at the Subic Bay Peninsular Hotel, Subic Freeport Zone, Olongapo City, Zambales.
Savchenko, with 7.5 points in 7 wins and 1 draw record, is two points ahead of his next competitor and with two rounds remaining of the tournament, is virtually the champion of the event organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) and supported by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) in cooperation with the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC). It is being sponsored, aside from the PSC, by Puregold, Asia United Bank (AUB), Burlington Performance Socks, MarcVentures Holdings Inc. and MarcVentures Mining and Development Corporation. It is being hosted by the Subic Bay Peninsular Hotel.
Four players are tied in far second with 5.5 points that included GMs Lu, Darwin Laylo (PHI), Vitaly Sivuk (Ukraine) and Chakkravarthy Deepan of India. Laylo halved the point with Deepan in 45 moves of an English Opening while Sivuk won in 44 moves of another English Opening game over GM Alexander Zubov of Ukraine.
Filipino players were not so lucky as GM Eugene Torre (PHI) lost to GM Vladimir Belous (Russia), FM Sander Severino (PHI) lost to IM Lin Chen (China) in a French unusual in 35 moves, IM Rolando Nolte (PHI) lost to top seed Abhijeet Gupta (India) and IM Manny Senador (PHI) lost to IM Sean Winshand Cuhendi of Indonesia in 46 moves of a Spanish game. The only saving grace for the Filipinos is IM Oliver Dimakiling who won over GM Chitambaram Vr. Aravindh of India in 55 moves of a Colle system.
In the Challenger division, three players are tied for the lead after seven rounds: Franz Robert Grafil, Sherwin Tiu and National Master Efren Bagamasbad. Grafil drew his game with Istraelito Rilloraza of FEU in 48 moves of a Slav, Tiu defeated Jerich Cajeras of the College of Saint Benilde in a Closed Sicilian in 45 moves and NM Bagamasbad prevailed over Erickson Marimla in 63 moves of a Semi-Slav game. In round eight Tiu faces NM Bagamasbad and Grafil takes on Rolly Parondo.