Philippines, 12 Dec 2018
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Gomez seizes Cebu PNG lead

Individual Standings after Round 6:(Standard play)

(Open Division)

5.5 points---GM John Paul Gomez
5.0 points---GM Darwin Laylo, IM Paulo Bersamina, IM Jan Emmanuel Garcia
4.5 points---GM Rogelio "Joey" Antonio Jr., GM Jayson Gonzales, NM John Merill Jacutina, Jay Bulicatin, Jhonnel Balquin

(Women's Division)
5.5 points---WIM Catherine Perena-Secopito
5.0 points---WIM Mikee Suede
4.5 points---WGM Janelle Mae Frayna, WIM Bernadette Galas, WIM Marie Antoinette San Diego, WFM Michelle Yaon, Rowelyn Joy Acedo

CEBU---GRANDMASTER John Paul Gomez of Albay Province toppled overnight solo leader International Master Paulo Bersamina (ELO 2413) of Tandag City to assume solo lead after the sixth round of the 2018 Philippine National Games (PNG) Chess Championships, Standard Open Competition yesterday at the Robinsons Galleria Cebu here.

The top-ranked Gomez, with an ELO rating of 2461 whose stint here is backed up by Albay Gov. Al Francis C. Bichara surprised Bersamina when he decided to play the King's Pawn Game or e4 opening than his usual Queen's Pawn game or d4 opening and played superbly with the white pieces to clinch the win over eight-ranked Bersamina (ELO 2416) after 25 pushes of Sicilian skirmish.

The win gave Gomez the solo lead with 5.5 points, a half point ahead of Bersamina, seventh-ranked International Master Jan Emmanuel Garcia (ELO 2422) of Manila and ninth-ranked Grandmaster Darwin Laylo (ELO 2400) of Marikina City.

Garcia beat International Master Kim Steven Yap (ELO 2363) of Cebu Province after 37 moves of Evans Gambit while Laylo defeated National Master Edsel Montoya (ELO 2294) of Cebu City after 31 moves of Caro-Kann defense.

In Tuesday's fifth round, Bersamina dealt Laylo, Gomez subdued National Master John Merill Jacutina (ELO 2099) of Manila and Garcia bested Filipino and United States chess master Almario Marlon Bernardino Jr. (ELO 2151) of Barangay Malamig, Mandaluyong City.

Also still in the thick of the fight is 13-time Philippine Open Champion and second-ranked Grandmaster Rogelio "Joey" Antonio Jr. (ELO 2452) of Calapan, Oriental Mindoro after crushing National Master Joey Albert Florendo (ELO 2131) of Zamboanga City after a similar 31 moves of Caro-Kann defense to score 4.5 points and create a five-way tie for fifth place that includes Jacutina, Grandmaster Jayson Gonzales (ELO) of Albay, Province, Jay Bulicatin of Panabo and Jhonnel Balquin of Cagayan de Oro City.

Jacutina bounced back in contention after subduing International Master Oliver Dimakiling (ELO 2441) of Davao City after 75 moves of Trompovsky Opening, Gonzales, another top player of Albay Gov. Al Francis C. Bichara nipped National Master Alexander Lupian (ELO 34 moves of Queen's Pawn Game, Bulicatin upset National Master Jerad Docena (ELO 2430) of Manila and Balquin outplayed Jayson Salubre (ELO 2286) of Davao del Norte after 43 moves of Modern defense.

In the distaff side, No.2 seed Woman International Master Catherine Perena-Secopito (ELO 2120) of Bulacan waylaid overnight co-leader top seed Woman Grandmaster Janelle Mae Frayna (ELO 2304) of Albay Province after 44 moves of Modern defense to grab the solo lead with 5.5 points in six outings.

Earlier, Secopito trounced former Asian Junior champion Woman International Master Mikee Suede (ELO 2092) of Makati City to gain a share of the lead with Frayna who brought downed Woman Fide Master Shania Mae Mendoza (ELO 2114) of Santa, Rosa City in Tuesday's fifth round.

Mikee, one of the top players of Makati City mayor Abigail "Abby" Binay-Campos and Makati City coach Francis Magpili, meantime needed to beat her eldest sister Akiko Charmaine Suede (ELO 1865) in Wednesday's sixth round and placed second over-all with 5.0 points.

Frayna, on the other hand remains at 4.5 points, the same output of WIM Bernadette Galas of Makati City, WIM Marie Antoinette San Diego of Dasmarinas City, WFM Michelle Yaon of Calamba City and Rowelyn Joy Acedo of Davao City.-Marlon Bernardino-

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Marlon Bernardino.

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