MANILA, Philippines – Grandmaster Wesley So made short work of International Master Ronald Dableo in the seventh round then halved the point with GM Mark Paragua to move closer to an unprecedented back-to-back title in the Phoenix Petroleum-Dapitan City “Battle of GMs” chess championship Sunday in Dapitan.
The 15-year-old defending champion So finished off Dableo in only 26 moves of the French, sustaining a remarkable winning streak interrupted only by a draw with GM Rogelio Antonio Jr. in the sixth round. The draw was later ordered nullified by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP), which ordered a replay of the match on Monday.
Then So settled for a draw with Paragua in 31 moves of the Sicilian Rossolimo in the eighth round to keep a comfortable lead over GM John Paul Gomez with only three rounds remaining in this annual tournament.
Overall, So has 13 points, excluding the outcome of his game against Antonio.
So’s ninth-round assignment is against IM Julio Catalino Sadorra.
Gomez, who nailed the elusive GM title during the World Chess Olympiad in Dresden, Germany last November, made the biggest jump during the weekend.
UAAP Athlete of the Year Gomez swept GMs Darwin Laylo in 58 moves of the Gruenfeld in the seventh round and Buenaventura “Bong” Villamayor in 46 moves of the English to raise his score to 11 points.
Sadorra matched Gomez’s two-game streak by humbling IM Rolando Nolte (48, English) and GM Jayson Gonzales (40, King’s Indian) to move into a three-way tie with Antonio and IM Richard Bitoon in third to fifth places with nine points.
Antonio humbled Villamayor in 62 moves of the Bogo-Indian but lost to Dableo in marathon 98 moves of the Scandinavian, while Bitoon drew with GM Eugene Torre in 55 moves of the Siciliani and won over Nolte in 30 moves of the Sicilian.
Laylo drew with Torre in 60 moves of the Nimzo-Indian to grab solo sixth place with 8.5 points.
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