Grandmaster Richard Bitoon drew with fellow GM Darwin Laylo in 31 moves of a Symmetrical English to hold on to a slim lead after the penultimate round of the 2015 Battle of the Grandmasters-National Chess Championships, Open Division, held at the PSC National Athletes’ Dining Hall inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, Pablo Ocampo Sr. St., Malate, Manila.
GM Bitoon tallied 13 points in 9 games of play followed by GM Joey Antonio with 12.
GM Antonio stopped International Master Paulo Bersamina in 30 moves of an exciting Scandinavian Defense. In third is International Master Haridas Pascua with 10 points who lost to defending champion GM Eugene Torre in 27 moves of a QGA. GM Bitoon takes on IM Pascua while GM Antonio tackles National Master Jerad Docena in the last round today.
Five players are tied for 4th to 8th places led by GM Torre, GM Laylo, GM John Paul Gomez, IM Mari Joseph Turqueza and NM Docena. GM Gomez drew with last placer WIM Janelle Mae Frayna in 33 moves of a Slav while IM Turqueza also drew his game with NM Docena in 41 moves of a King’s Indian.
In the Women’s Division, standings were substantially altered when WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda stalemated WNM Christy Lamiel Bernales in 100 moves of a French Defense game. By virtue of the Torre-Pichay scoring system of 1.5-0.5 for stalemate, Fronda despite the draw was catapulted to second place behind leader and defending champion WIM Catherine Pereńa- Secopito who defeated Judith Pineda in 47 moves of a King’s Indian Defense. WNM Bernales dropped to 5th place behind WIM Mikee Charlene Suede who had a walkover win against the faltering Arvie Lozano of UP.
WFM Marie Antoinette San Diego is in 3rd place after splitting the point with WFM Shania Mae Mendoza in a Sicilian Dragon game. WNM Jean Karen Enriquez demolished the French Defense game of Brena Mae Membrere of Ateneo in 31 moves to complete the results of the Women’s penultimate round. WFM Mendoza, WNM Enriquez, Lozano, Membrere and Pineda stand in that order going to the last round today.
The tournament is being organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) headed by its President Prospero ‘Butch’ Pichay Jr. , Congressman Abraham ‘Bambol’ Tolentino and Congressman Neri Javier Colmenares..It is supported financially by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) thru Chairman Ricardo R. Garcia in cooperation with the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) thru President Jose ‘Peping Cojuangco.