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PH trails by a point

Sixth pick Grandmaster Vladislav Kovalev of Belarus pulled down former leader Woman GM Lei Tingjie of China in 60 moves of a Benoni yesterday to snatch a share of the lead with top seed GM Wang Hao of China after five rounds of the Philippine International Chess Championships at Subic Bay Peninsular Hotel in Zambales.

Wang, who owns a tournament best 2678 FIDE rating, mauled Armenian GM Tigran Kontanjian in 27 moves of a super-sharp Sicilian showdown in just 27 moves to join Kovalev on top with four points apiece.

Russian GMs Boris Savchenko and Anton Demchenko fought to a 55-move draw of a Ruy Lopez-Steinitz Defense; Georgian Merab Gagunashvili agreed to a quick 14-move standoff with Georgian GM Mikheil Mchedlishvili of a Queen’s Pawn Game; and Pentsulaia smashed Filipino International Master Oliver Dimakiling 52 moves of a Zukefort Opening.

Grandmaster John Paul Gomez and IMs Haridas Pascua and Paulo Bersamina sustained the host country’s campaign by drawing their fifth round games to stay just a full point behind the leaders in this nine-round event sponsored by the Phl Sports Commission.

Gomez and Pascua split the point in 30 moves of a Trompovsky Attack while Bersamina halved the point with IM Subbaraman Vijayalakshmi of India 24 moves of a King’s Indian duel.

GM Joey Anontio and IM Jan Emmanuel Garcia also drew 31 moves of a Slav to stay in a group with 2.5 points each in the meet.