By Rey Bancod
Grandmaster Surya Shekhar Ganguly of India seized the solo lead halfway through the 17th Asian Continental Chess Championships Friday following a victory over compatriot S.P. Sethuraman at the Tiara Oriental Hotel in Makati.
Ganguly now has 4.5 points, half-a-point ahead of Wei Yi who drew with fellow Chinese GM Ni Hua in the fifth round.
Top seed GM Wang Hao of China whipped GM Tran Tuan Minh of Vietnam to lead a big group with 3.5 points apiece.
The other 3.5-pointers are Chinese GMs Lu Shanglei, Wen Yang and Ni Hua, Chinese IM Xu Yi, FIDE Master Lye Lik Zang of Malaysia, GM
Rinat Jumabayev of Kazakhstan, GM Santosh Gujrathi Vidit and Sethuraman of India, GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son and GM Le Quang Liem of Vietnam, GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov, Shamsiddin Vokhidov and Nodirbek Yakubboev of Uzbekistan, GM Amin Tabatabaei of Iran.
Six Filipinos, led by GMs John Paul Gomez and Darwin Laylo, are in a big group of 2.5-pointers. The others are International Masters Ricky de Guzman, Daniel Quizon, Haridas Pascua and John Marvin Miciano.
Gomez outclassed countryman John Merill Jacutina while Laylo drew with Chinese Chen Qi B.
De Guzman bowed to IM Nodirbek Yakubboev of Uzbekistan, Quizon upset IM Oliver Dimakiling, Pascua humbled FM Alekhine Nouri and Miciano halved the point with IM Sumiya Bliguun of Mongolia.
Joey Antonio, the only other Filipino GM in the field, has 2 points after a draw with FM Mari Joseph Turqueza.
In women’s play, WFM Allaney Jia Doroy, the best-placed Filipina, drew with WIM Dewi Ardhiani Anastasia Citra of Indonesia to share 10th place with seven others with 3 points apiece.
IM Rout Padmini of Indonesia grabbed the solo lead after defeating WFM Turmunkh Munkhzul of Mongolia. She now has 4.5 points, half-a-point ahead of WGM Gong Qianyun of Singapore.
WIM s Catherine Secopito and Jan Jodilyn Fronda each has 2.5 points while WGM Janelle Mae Frayna, WIM Marie Antoinette San Diego and WFM Shania Mae Mendoza carry similar 2 points.