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Russian GM snaps Segarra’s streak

Second seed Grandmaster Anton Demchenko of Russia ended Filipino FIDE Master Randy Segarra’s giant-slaying ways with a 95-move win to grab a share of the lead with six others after three rounds of the Philippine International Chess Championships Subic Bay Peninsular Hotel in Zambales Wednesday night.

Demchenko’s win sent him on top a with a group led by top seed GM Wang Hao of China, who fought No. 5 Mikheil Michedishvili of Georgia to a 34-move draw of an Anti-Gruenfeld, Alekhine Variation, with 2.5 points each.

Fourth pick GM Levan Pantsulaia of Georia drew with compatriot No. 7 Merab Gagunashvili in 32 moves of a Caro-kann to likewise snare a share of the lead.

Also leapfrogging to the top were No. 6 GM Vladislav Kovalev of Belarus, who dismantled International Master Ronald Bancod’s Bishop’s Opening in 45 moves, and Woman GM Lei Tingjie of China, who trounced Indian IM Puranik Abhimanyu in 36 moves of the Zukefort Opening.

Segarra, 38, couldn’t sustain his big-winning ways and after stunning GM Kirill Stupak in the first round and halving the point with GM Vladislav Kovalev also of Belarus in the second in this event bankrolled by the Phl Sports Commission under chairman Butch Ramirez and NCFP president Butch Pichay.

“There were some opportunities to draw but just couldn’t take advantage of it,” said Segarra, a full-time RCBC employee and La Salle’s current chess team coach in the UAAP, in Filipino.

IM Paulo Bersamina and GM John Paul Gomez, for their part, took the cudgels from Segarra and halved the point with their fancied opponents to barge into the top 10 and spearhead the host country’s campaign.