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International Master Oliver Dimakiling and unheralded Hamed Nouri pulled off shock victories yesterday to steal the thunder from the heavyweights and a share of the lead at the start of 2016 Phl Sports Commission-Puregold International Chess Challenge at the Subic Bay Peninsular Hotel Tuesday night.
Dimakiling, eyeing his third and last result to clinch the Grandmaster title, stunned third seed GM Boris Savchenko of Russia in 45 moves of a London System while Nouri, a porud son of Negros Occidental, humbled No. 6 GM Vladislav Kovalev of Belarus in 44 moves of a Bishop’s Opening to zoom to the top.
Dimakiling, an Olympiad veteran, and Nouri, who has returned to competing after he decided to focus on training his son, FIDE Master Alekhine, jumped into the big group at the helm that also included GMs Mark Paragua, Eugene Torre, Joey Antonio and Darwin Laylo.
Paragua, on vacation after leaving the country to work in the United States for a few years now, downed Woman IM Sarvinoz Kurbonoeva of Uzbekistan in 37 moves of a Gruenfeld Exchange Variation in this meet serving as the second and final installment of a pair of GM-spiced events sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission, Burlington, Marc Adventures Mining Inc. and Puregold.
The vintage Torre, fresh from his sterling performance in the Olympiad, was equally impressive as he smashed Roel Abelgas in 46 moves of a Sarratt Attack.
Antonio, for his part, overcame another Negros Occidental bet Rolando Andador in 40 moves of a French Defense while Marikina City’s Laylo blasted WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda in 57 moves of a Torre Attack.
Also emerging victorious in the opening round were GM Kirill Stupak of Belarus, FIDE Master Tran Minh Thang of Vietnam, Harshit Raja of India, Tran Tuan Minh of Vietnam, WGM Lei Tingjie of China and GM Tigran Kontanjian of Armenia.
IMs Jan Emmanuel Garcia and Paulo Bersamina played solidly against top two seeds GMs Wang Hao of China and Anton Demchenko of Russia and eked out draws 45 moves of an English Opening and 90 moves of a Ruy Lopez.