by Rey Bancod
International Master Ricky de Guzman battled former world women’s champion Grandmaster Tan Zhongyi of China to a draw Saturday, but stayed in the middle pack of the 17th Asian Continental Chess Championships at the Tiara Oriental Hotel in Makati.
De Guzman has 3 points after 6 rounds, a full point and a half behind eight players tied for the lead.
“Matapang mag-laro,” said the 57-year-old former Asian junior champion, referring to Tan, the 2017 world champion. “Binigay niya rook for a bishop. Hindi ko mai-panalo dahil may mga queen pa kami pareho.”
De Guzman, who returned to the country two years ago after spending 10 years in the United States, has the best score among Filipinos along with GMs John Paul Gomez and Joey Antonio and FIDE Master Mari Joseph Turqueza.
Gomez split the point with GM Tran Tuan Minh of Vietnam, Antonio outplayed compatriot Edsel Montoya while Turqueza upset IM Jan Emmanuel Garcia.
A big group of Filipinos are bunched with 2.5 points. They are GM Darwin Laylo, IM Paulo Bersamina, IM Roderick Nava, IM Haridas Pascua, IM Daniel Quizon, John Merill Jacutina, IM John Marvin Miciano, IM Oliver Dimakiling and Jerad Docena.
Top seed GM Wang Hao of China whipped IM Nodirbek Yakubboev of Uzbekistan to join the crowded leaderboard. He is joined by fellow Chinese GM Wei Yi, Indian GMs Surya Shekhar Ganguly, S.P. Sethuraman and Santosh Gujrathi Vidit, GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov of Uzbekistan and Iranian GM Amin Tabatabaei.
In women’s play, IM Rout Padmini of India opened a one-point lead over the rest of the field after beating WGM Gong Qianyun of Singapore. She now has 5.5 points.
WIM Zhu Jiner of China is in solo second with 4.5 points.
The best-placed Filipina is WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda who disposed of WFM Aashna Makhija of India to improve to 3.5 points.
WGM Janelle Mae Frayna, WFM Shania Mae Mendoza and WFM Allaney Jia Doroy each has 3 points.