Philippines, 25 May 2018
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Antonio Agrees to a Draw Vs Short, Keeps Solo Lead After 5 Rounds

PhilBoxing.com


GM Antonio (L) and GM Nigel Short (R).

Standings After 5 Rounds


4.5 points: GM Antonio
4.0 points: GM Short, GM Narayanan, GM Nguyen, Montoya
3.5 points: GM Grigoryan, GM Tranh T. M., GM Laylo, IM Garma, IM
Dableo, NM Emperado, Mangao, Salubre
3.0 points: IM Tranh M. T, IM Dimakiling, Magallanes, Mirano, Asuela,
Roque, Concio

BACOLOD CITY--Filipino Grandmaster Rogelio "Joey" Antonio Jr. agreed to a draw against top seed and GM Nigel Short of England and keep a precarious half-point lead halfway into the nine-round Piaya Network
2017 Negros International Open Chess tournament at the Ikthus Osbron Hall here.

"Out of respect na rin kaya pumayag na ako sa tabla," said Antonio, who, for the first time in so many years, has faced a Top 100 player in the world.

Short, the only player over 50 years old who has reached a rating of over 2700 and a former challenger to the world crown, found Antonio's response to his English Opening unnerving and precise that he had to offer a draw in a very inferior position.

"Si Nigel (Short) lang talaga ang inaabangan diyan. Lamang ako sa position pero a draw is not a bad result after all," said Antonio, who did not see an excellent counter, a knight move on c5 when the draw was agreed on the 31st move of a battle of players who would have been eligible to play in the seniors event.

The 55-year-old Antonio is out to prove that his 2365 Elo rating is non-reflective of his true strengths and potential when he challenged Short, who had a rating of 2698 in the October ratings, easily a 333 points gap.

Antonio, who has 4.5 points, was facing fourth seed GM Srinath Narayanan of India in the ensuing sixth round action late Monday, a double-round schedule. Other matches included Montoya playing white against Short and Nguyen taking on second seed GM Karen Grigoryan, who has 3.5 points.

The leader board changed slightly as Narayanan drew with Vietnam's GM Nguyen Duc Hoa in only 31 moves of a Four Knights game even as local dark horse Edsel Montoya from nearby La Carlota bounced back with a win. Nguyen, Short, Narayanan and Montoya trail Antonio by half-a-point.

So focused was Antonio that he spent Sunday's rest day working and sweating it out in the gym and didn't join organizers who treated Short and the other grandmasters to an outing in Lakawon island, a picturesque resort north of Bacolod.

Grigoryan of Armenia (Elo 2586) bounced back with a win after being held to a draw and a loss in the earlier rounds. He led a huge group of 3.5 pointers including GM Tranh Tuan Minh of Vietnam, GM Darwin Laylo, IM Chito Garma, IM Ronald Dableo, NM Emmanuel Emperado, Danmaersk Mangao and Jayson Salubre.


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