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Untitled chesser topples Antonio

Untitled Jonathan Jota continued his giant-killing ways on Thursday as he upstaged defending champion Joey Antonio to gain a share of the lead in the 2017 Battle of Grandmasters National Chess Championships at the City Club of Alphaland Makati Place.

Picking up from where he left off following an equally stunning win over GM Darwin Laylo (2433) in the opener last Wednesday, Jota (2101), 20, initially settled for a draw with International Master Ronald Bancod (2276) in Round 2 before shocking a visibly struggling Antonio, ranked third in the event with an ELO of 2438.



Joining Jota, a third year college student from Lyceum-Manila, atop the leaderboard were IM’s Haridas Pascua (2427) and Chito Garma (2325), both with 2.5 points each.

Pascua, who defeated Antonio in the opening day, was forced to a stalemate by GM Rogelio Barcenilla (2457) in Round 2 then defeated National Master John Marvin Miciano (2212) in the ensuing round.

Garma, on the other hand, compounded the woes of Antonio by taking the full point in the second round but was held to a draw by Barcenilla in Round 3.

Running at fourth to sixth spots were GM John Paul Gomez (2463), IM Paulo Bersamina (2397) and Jeth Romy Morado (2132), another untitled hopeful, all with similar 2.0 points.

Meanwhile, Antonio remains scoreless so far in the 11-round, eight-day tourney which serves as the country’s main qualifying event for next year’s Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia.

In the distaff side, WIM Catherine Secopito (2120) seized the top spot with 2.5 points, courtesy of her Round 2 victory against fellow WIM Mikee Charlene Suede (2096) in 32 moves using a Scandinavian defense.

Secopito, who split the point with WFM Cherry Ann Mejia (1972) in the opener, followed it up with another solid victory in the third round against untitled Francois Marie Magpily in 38 moves using a King’s Indian Defense.

Staying hot on Secopito’ heels were WIM Marie Antoinette San Diego (2130), Christy Lamiel Bernales (2059) and untitled Arvie Lozano (1931), all with 2.0 points. (Jerome Lagunzad)