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Round Four Results: Antonio Streaks to Fourth Straight Win, Gains Solo Lead

PhilBoxing.com


Standings After 4th Round
4 points: Antonio
3.5 points: Short, Narayanan, Nguyen,

3 points: Dableo, Emperado, Montoya, Asuela
2.5 points: Grigorian, Tran T. M., Laylo, Garma, Mangao, Yap, Salubre, Retanal, Magallanes, Tran M. T., Abelgas, Ganzon, Pagaran

BACOLOD CITY--Filipino Grandmaster Rogelio "Joey" Antonio Jr. kept his unbeaten streak intact by stopping erstwhile co-leader and giant-killer Edsel Montoya in the fourth round of the Piaya Network 2017 Negros International Open Chess tournament at the Ikthus Osbron Hall here.

Coming off an equal knight, rook and pawns against a bishop, rook and an equal number of pawns endgame, Antonio displayed nerves of steel in punishing Montoya's slight mistakes in the middle game to gain solo leadership in this nine-round Swiss System tournament.

With barely seconds left on his clock and living off a 30-second increment alloted per move thereafter, Montoya erred big on the 44th move that allowed Antonio to capture an all-important pawn that was enough to win and take a half-point lead.

The star-studded event bankrolled by Piaya Network's Tony Aguirre saw top seed and super-GM Nigel Short bounce back with a win after being held to a draw in the third round and towed other foreign GMs fourth seed Srinath Narayanan of Inda and fifth seed GM Nguyen Duc Hoa of Vietnam with 3.5 points.

"Malaking motivation iyong manalo at makuha ang solo leadership sa ganitong kalakas na tournament. I would also like to give credit to people who believed in me in my bid to regain my old form," said Antonio, the many-time Philippine champion and former No. 1 player of the land.

Antonio specifically thanked Philippine Sports Commission chairman William "Butch" Ramirez and National Chess Federation of the Philippines director Anthony Orbe for promising to support him in his future campaigns.

Play will resume on Monday following a break today with Short taking on Antonio on top board. Short plays white in an all-important match while Nguyen takes on Narayanan.

Short, the 52-year-old former challenger to the world crown, capitalized on Yap's weak 28th knight move, that allowed Short to capture an important queenside pawn that gave the Briton an unstoppable counter.

Narayanan beat young Minh Thang Tran in 41 moves of a Reti and continued his steady climb while Nguyen made short work of unheralded Danmaersk Mangao.

International Master Ronald Dableo beat fellow IM Chito Garma and led three others with three points which included Montoya and Ellan Asuela and Emmanuel Emperado.

Second seed Karen Grigorian bounced back into contention and led a huge group of 3.5 pointers which included GM Tran Tuan Minh of Vietnam, GM Darwin Laylo, Jayson Salubre, Elwin Retanal, Rey Magallanes, Tran Minh Thang, Roel Abelgas, Rommel Ganzon, Michael Pagaran and Garma, Mangao and Yap.


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