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Savchenko joins 3-way tie on top

Third seed GM Boris Savchenko of Russia downed fourth pick GM Levan Pentsulaia of Georgia in 60 moves of a Zukefort Opening to zoom to the top along with two others after six rounds of the Philippine International Chess Championships at Subic Bay Peninsular Hotel in Zambales yesterday.

Savchenko’s win sent him to a three-way tie at No. 1 along with top seed GM Wang Hao of China and No. 6 GM Vladislav Kovalev of Belarus in this nine-round tournament sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission, Burlington, Marc Adventures Mining Inc. and Puregold.

Hao gained an early positional edge but ended up drawing his game with second pick GM Anton Demchenko of Russia in 30 moves of a razor-sharp Sicilian showdown.

Kovalev likewise could not take advantage on his early slight positional edge and agreed to a 38-move standoff with Georgian GM Merab Gagunashvili of the Ruy Lopez.

The draw kept Savchenko in a group of woodpushers with four points that included Gagunashvili and Woman GM Lei Tingjie, who fought Filipino GM John Paul Gomez to a 19 move draw of another Zukefort Opening.

Gomez remained a full point behind the leaders with 3.5 points in the meet sanctioned by the NCFP.

Three more Filipinos were part of that group, IM Haridas Pascua, who escaped with a 37-move deadlock with No. 5 GM Mikheil Mchedishvili of Georgia of a King’s Indian, IM Paulo Bersamina, who split the point with GM Jha Sririam of India in 18 moves of a Ruy Lopez, and IM Jan Emmanuel Garcia who bested IM Ronald Bancod in 71 moves of a Ruy Lopez.