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Short, Antonio Keep Share of Lead

PhilBoxing.com



GM Rogelio Antonio.

Standings After 7 Rounds


6.0 points: GM Short, GM Antonio
5.0 points: GM Grigoryan, GM Narayanan, GM Nguyen, IM Tran M. T., Roque,
4.5 points: GM Tran T. M., GM Laylo, Mangao, IM Garma, IM Dableo, Montoyo
4.0 points: Salubre, San Diego, IM Yap, Pangilinan, Verdun, IM
Pimentel, Quizon, Retanal, IM Dimakiling

BACOLOD CITY--Top seed Nigel Short of England and Filipino GM Rogelio "Joey" Antonio Jr. thwarted separate opponents in spectacular fashion and took a one-point lead ahead of the pack going into the penultimate round of the Piaya Network 2017 Negros International Open Chess tournament at the Ikthus Osbron Hall here.

Short was magnificent in his sacrificial attack reminiscent of the classic Larsen-Spassky game themes of old as he turned back giant-killer and local talent Danmaersk Mangao with white in only 23 moves, a feat matched by Antonio's game against IM Ronald Dableo, which ended in only 22 moves playing with the black side of a Reti game.

Short, who had to offer Antonio a draw in a slightly worse position in the fifth round, beat another local sensation in Edsel Montoya in the sixth round even as Antonio was forced to a draw by Indian GM Srinath Narayanan, that forged a two-way tie for the lead heading into the seventh.

Short, on his fourth visit to the Philippines, found nothing to prepare for in his pre-game plans against Mangao, a tournament revelation who remained at 4.5 points. To his credit, Mangao has covered a chess player's dream weekend, having faced his third grandmaster and four other titled players in this nine-round Swiss system tournament organized by local Piaya Network, a Bacolod-based TV station that has beamed the tournament live throughout the world and social media.


GM Nigel Short.

"The sacrifice was thematic because he has not developed his pieces, yet," said Short of his 12th move sacrificial move. "It was completely an on-the-board play because I could not find any of his (Mangao) games anywhere," said Short.

So surprised was Mangao of Short's sacrifice that he did not find the right moves that could have forced a drawish position as he yielded to a barrage of pawns storming his kingside.

"We just need to play solid in the next two rounds," said Antonio, the 13-time Philippine champion, a native of Calapan, Oriental Mindoro of his chances to match Short's surge.

Second seed Armenian GM Karen Grigoryan and Narayanan drew in only 12 moves and 10 minutes of play and scored their fifth point to tie for third to seventh places with GM Nguyen Duc Hoa of Vietnam, untitled Merben Roque and 17-year-old Vietnamese International Master Tran Minh Thang.

Short plays the black pieces against Roque while Antonio gets a tougher assignment in Nguyen in the eighth round. Other matches pit IM Tran against Grigoryan while GM Tran faces Nayananan.


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