By Rey Bancod
Little-known International Master Roderick Nava kept the Philippine flag afloat with his second straight win Wednesday in the 69th Asian Continental Chess Championships presented by San Miguel Corp. at the Tiara Hotel in Makati.
The 33-year-old Nava defeated IM Novendra Priasmoro to move into a tie for 13th place with 2 points, just half-a-point behind the co-leaders.
Nava, who humbled Randolph Schain of Cambodia in the second round, is the best-placed Filipino in the 64-man Open division.
With an ELO of 2392, Nava is ranked only 23rd in the country.
With 1.5 points after three rounds were Grandmaster Joey Antonio, IMs Jan Emmanuel Garcia, Ricky de Guzman and Haridas Pascua, FIDE Master Mari Joseph Turqueza and untitled Michael Concio Jr.
Antonio, one of three Filipino GMs in the field, posted his first win at the expense of compatriot FM Alekhine Nouri.
Garcia split the point with IM Sumiya Bilguun of Mongolia, De Guzman drew with IM Shamsiddin Vokhidov of Uzbekistan, Pascua settled for a third straight draw with GM Abhimanyu Puranik of India, Turqueza outplayed countryman Jerad Docena and Concio, the lowest ranked player in the tournament, halved the point with FM Yoseph Theolifus Taher of Indonesia.
A series of draws slowed down the march of the leaders.
Twelve players shared first place with 2.5 points. They are GMs Ni Hua, Wei Yi and Lu Shanglei of China, GMs Babu Lalith, S.P. Sethuraman and Surya Shekhar Ganguly of India, GMs Alireza Firouzja and Parham Maghsoodloo of Iran, FM Lye Lik Zang of Malaysia, GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son of Vietnam, GM Rinat Jumabayev of Kazakhstan and GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov of Uzbekistan.
GM John Paul Gomez, the top-ranked Filipino in the field, remained scoreless after suffering his third straight loss from compatriot Stephen Rome Pangilinan while GM Darwin Laylo was held to a draw by WCM Song Yuxin of China.
In women’s play, WFM Allaney Jia Doroy is the best performing Filipina with 1.5 points after three rounds.
WGM Janelle Mae Frayna, the country’s No. 1, has 1 point along with compatriots WIM Bernadette Galas, WIM Kylen Joy Mordido, WCM Christy Lamiel Bernales, WIM Catherine Secopito, WIM Marie Antoinette San Diego, WFM Cherry Ann Mejia and WFM Shania Mae Mendoza.
Sharing first place with perfect 3 points apiece are WFM Turmunkh Munkhzul of Mongolia and IM Pham Le Thao Nguyen of Vietnam.