GRANDMASTER Darwin Laylo and IM Paulo Bersamina pulled off emphatic wins to breathe life to the host country’s sinking campaign even as first leg winner GM Wang Hao of China stayed on top after five rounds of the Philippine Sports Commission-Puregold International Chess Challenge at the Subic Bay Peninsular Hotel Thursday night.
Laylo turned back upset-conscious Raja Harshit of India in 51 moves of a Queen’s Indian Defense while Bersamina overcame Catherine Secopito in 53 moves of a Budapest to move in a pack at seventh with three points.
That group included GMs Mark Paragua and Joey Antonio, who halved the point with Russian GM Anton Demchenko in 37 moves of a Trompovsky and eighth pick GM Kirill Stupak of Belarus in 60 moves of a French Defense, respectively.
Wang trounced No. 4 GM Levan Pantsulaia in 41 moves of a razor-sharp Siclian duel to firm his grip of the solo lead with 4.5 points in this nine-round event sponsored by the PSC, Burlington, Marc Adventures Mining Inc. and Puregold.
No. 6 GM Vladislav Kovalev of Belarus edged IM Abhimanyu Puranik of India in 77 moves of a Ruy Lopez to zoom to solo second with four points.
Pantsulaia slid to a share of third with WGM Lei Tingjie of China, third seed GM Boris Savchenko of Russia and No. 7 GM Merab Gagunashvili of Georgia.
Lei defeated ninth seed GM Eugene Torre in 41 moves of a Queen’s Pawn Torre Attack; Savchenko smashed IM Jan Emmanuel Garcia in 67 moves of a Gruenfeld; and Gagunashvili downed IM Tran Tuan Minh of Vietnam in 90 moves of a Nimzo-Indian showdown.