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Final day loss costs Paragua

GM Wang Hao of China slammed the title door on GM Mark Paragua with a crushing 42-move win of a Sicilian to rule the Philippine Sports Commission-Puregold International Chess Challenge at the Subic Bay Peninsular Hotel Sunday night.

The top-seeded Wang emerged the solo champion with seven points five days after he also scored seven in reigning supreme in the first of this two-leg chess series sponsored by the PSC, Burlington, Marc Adventures Mining Inc. and Puregold less than week ago.

Half a point behind at solo second spot was fourth seed GM Pevan Pantsulaia of Georgia, who overtook sixth pick GM Vladislav Kovalev of Belarus with a 64-move triumph of a Reti Opening.

Kovalev dropped to a share of No. 3 with second seed GM Anton Demchenko of Russia and seventh pick GM Merab Gagunashvili, who settled for a quick 13-move draw of a Ruy Lopez, with six points each.

Paragua, for his part, ended up in a four-man pack at No. 6 with 5.5 points alongside GMs Kirill Stupakof Belarus, Mikheil Mchedlishvili of Georgia and Boris Savchenko of Russia.

Stupak trounced IM Abhimanyu Puranik of India in 40 moves of a Caro-kann while Mchedlishvili and Savchenko battled to a long 71-move deadlock of a Queen’s Indian Defense.