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Antonio, Laylo fall in Battle of GMs tourney

By JEROME LAGUNZAD

Defending champion Joey Antonio and fellow grandmaster Darwin Laylo fell in huge upsets Wednesday at the start of the 2017 Battle of Grandmasters National Chess Championships at the City Club of Alphaland Makati Place.

Untitled Jonathan Jota, playing an irregular opening with white, stunned Laylo after 44 moves to gain a share of the early lead in the 11-round tournament which serves as the country’s main qualifying event for the Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia next year.

“First time ko makalaban ng GM tapos nanalo pa. Hindi pa rin po ako makapaniwala,” said a visibly pleased Jota, a third year college student of Lyceum-Manila.

International Master Haridas Pascua, on the other hand, toppled Antonio in 30 moves of a Sicilian defense.

GM John Paul Gomez, the highest rated player in the field with an ELO rating of 2463, made quick work of 12-year-old Michael Concio Jr. of a Queen’s Pawn Opening while IM Chito Garma turned back IM Ronald Bancod in 36 moves of a Sicilian Defense.

GM Rogelio Barcenilla settled for a split point with untitled Jeth Romy Morado after 96 moves while IM Paolo Bersamina also did the same against John Marvin Miciano after 57 moves.

In the 11-strong distaff side, fancied Women International Masters Marie Antoinette San Diego and Mikee Charlene Suede plus Women National Master Arvie Lozano set their respective title bids in motion.

San Diego (2130) defeated WFM Michelle Yaon (1814) in 64 moves using a Queen’s Pawn Opening while Suede (2096) beat non-rated Francois Marie Magpily in 40 behind a King’s Indian Defense and Lozano (1931) turned back WIM Beverly Mendoza in 36 using a Reti Opening.

WIM Catherine Secopito (2120) split the point with WFM Cherry Enn Mejia (1972) after 38 moves while fellow WIM Bernadette Galas (2111) suffered the same fate against WFM Shania Mae Mendoza (2066) in 32 moves.

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