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Gomez gains share of lead

By: Jerome Lagunzad

Top seeded Grandmaster John Paul Gomez restored order on Sunday when he defeated erstwhile leader Jonathan Jota to gain a share of the lead in the 2017 Battle of Grandmasters National Chess Championships at the City Club of Alphaland Makati Place.

Gomez, with an ELO rating of 2463, continued his steady rise at the expense of the untitled Jota (2101) in their Round 7 encounter to hike his point total to 5.0 points and force a three-way tie for the lead with International Masters Paulo Bersamina (2397) and Haridas Pascua (2427).

Bersamina, playing white, turned back fellow IM Chito Garma (2325) in 46 moves using a Sicilian Defense while Pascua settled for a split point against untitled Jeth Romy Morado after 76 moves using a King’s Indian Defense.

The pair of losses dropped Jota and Garma down to a tie of fourth and fifth spots with similar 4.0 markers with still four rounds remaining in the country’s main qualifiers for next year’s Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia.

GM Rogelio Barcenilla (2457) earned a split point against fellow GM Darwin Laylo (2433) and jacked up his total to 3.5 points, the same output of Morado.

IM Ronald Bancod (2276) defeated untitled Michael Concio Jr. (1688) in 57 moves behind a Four Knights Defense and improved to 2.0 points in a tie with Laylo.

In the distaff side, WNM Bernadette Galas (2111) beat untitled Arvie Lozano (1931) in 30 moves using a Sicilian Defense and seized the solo leadership with 5.5 points.