Antonio draws with British champ Short, keeps lead

  • Written by Ed Andaya
  • Published in Other Sports
  • Read: 467

Standings after five rounds:
(Filipinos unless stated)
4.5  points -- R. Antonio
4  -- D. H. Nguyen (Vietnam), E. Montoya, S. Narayanan (India). N. Short (England)
3.5 -- R. Dableo. E. Emperado, J. Salubre,  D, Mangao, C. Garma,  T.M. Tran (Vietnam), K. Grigoryan (Armenia),   D. Laylo
3 -- M Roque, M. T. Tran (Vietnam),  E. Asuela, R. Magallanes,  K. Mirano, O. Dimakiling,  M. Concio

MULTI-TITLED GM Rogelo Antonio, Jr. agreed to a grandmasters’ draw with  former world championship contender GM Nigel Short of  England to keep the solo lead in the fifth  round of the 2017 Negros International Open Chess tournament in Bacolod.
Antonio, looking fit as a fiddle again following his withdrawal in the recent “Battle of GMs-National Chess Championships  due to sickness,  accepted the offer of a draw by the highr-rated Short “despite many pieces on the board and the outcome unclear.”
The  truce  between Short, the highest-rated  player in the tournament with an ELO of 2698, and Antonio, once the country’s No. 1 player in the 90s, was reached after only 31 moves of the English opening.
The draw ended Antonio’s four-game winning  streak, but it was enough to keep a half point lead over Short and three other players in this presitigous competition  being held in the ‘City of Smiles.
“Si  GM Nigel (Short) lang talaga ang inaabangan dito, Medyo lamang ako sa position pero pumayag na din ako sa draw out of respect sa kanya.  A draw is not a bad result,  after all,” said  the 55-year-old Antonio,  who missed a solid counter move – Kc5 —  that would have given him lasting advantage over the white-playing Short.     
Chess engines also had Antonio with slight advantage when the point was split.
“Matagal pa ang laban. Focus lang,” added Antonio, who spent the whole Sunday -- a rest day  -- getting ready for his match against Short  while the rest of the participants  visited  Lakawon island, a picturesque resort north of Bacolod.
Up next for Antonio is  fourth seed GM Srinath Narayanan of India, who also split the point with GM  Nguyen Duc Hoa of Vietnam.
Hometown hero Edsel Montoya join the four-pointers with a victory over No 20 seed Ellan  Asuela.
Second seed GM Akren Grigoryan of Armenia whipped FMRoel Abelgas to lead a big group of players  still within striking distance with  3.5 points.
Also in the big group are GM Tranh Tuan Minh of Vietnam, GM Darwin Laylo, IM Chito Garma, IM Ronald Dableo, NM Emmanuel Emperado, Danmaersk Mangao and Jayson Salubre.
Tan outclassed FM Elwin Retanal, Laylo crushed Rommel Ganzon, GArma smothered Joseph Michael Pagaran, Dableo drew with Emperado, Mangao upset NM David Elorta and Salubre toppled IM  Kim Steven Yap.
No. 7 seed  IM  Oliver Dimakiling outwitted  NM Stephen Rome  Pangilinan  to improve his score to three points in a tie with six other players.
WIM Jan Jodilyn  Fronda  bested  Jagadeesh Siddhartg of  Singapore while WIM Marie Antoinette San Diego  battled to a draw with  Ted Ian Montoya to improve to 2.5 points.
The nine-round tournament is sanctioned by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP), headed by president/chairman Prospero “Butch” Pichay.

The moves:
Round 5
N. Short vs. R. -Antonio:
1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. Qc2 Be7 7. a3 Nxc3 8. dxc3 O-O 9. Bd3 Kh8 10. b4 a6 11. Bb2 f5 12. e4 f4 13. Bc4 Qe8 14. O-O-O Bf6 15. h4 Bg4 16. Rd3 Qh5 17. Nd2  Rad8 18. Nb3 Rxd3 19. Bxd3 Rd8 20. Kb1 Be7 21. a4 Qf7 22. Nc1 Be6 23. Be2 a5 24. b5 Nb8 25. c4 Nd7 26. Nb3 b6 27. h5 h6 28. Rd1 Bd6 29. Nd2 Re8 30. Nf3 Qf6 31. g3                       
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