TAGAYTAY City -- Two-time Olympiad veteran IM Chito Garma continued his impressive showing by beating erstwhile co-leader NM Cesar Caturla in the sixth round of the 9th Asian Seniors Chess Championship at the Tagaytay International Convention Center here late Thursday.
A day after his shock victory over defending champion GM Eugene Torre last Wednesday, Garma defeated Caturla in another crucial encounter to grab the solo lead with 5.5 points on five wins and one draw in the nine-round tournament organized by the Asian Cgess Federation in cooperation with the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) and Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
Garma, who represented the country in the 1990 Novi Sad Olympiad and 1992 Manila Olympiad, moved half a point ahead of IM Petronio Roca with only three rounds left in the tournament hosted by the Tagaytay City government thru Cavite 7th District Cong. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino Jr. and Tagaytay City Mayor Agnes Tolentino.
The 54-year-old campaigner from University of Manila won over FM Ahmad Ismail of Malaysia, FM Adrian Pacis, NM Carlo Lorena, Torre and Caturla and drew with Than Khin of Myanmar.
Roca, another veteran campaigner, bested Lorena to move up to solo second with five points on four wins and two draws.
Caturla, the 1976 Haifa Olympian and now coach of the national women's team, is third with 4.5 points.
Pacis outclassed FM Syarif Mahmud of Indonesia to join Torre, FM Oleg Rinas of Kazakhstan, IM Angelo Young and NM Rolzon Roullo in fourth to eighth places with four points.
Torre, who topped last year's edition with a perfect 9/9 record in Auckland, New Zealand, settled for a draw with the second-seeded Rinas.
Three-time women’s champion Helen Milligan of New Zealand also battled NM Rosendo Bandal to a draw to remain as the top female performer with 3/6.
A total of 34 players from nine countries -- Australia, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Palestine and host the Philippines -- are seeing action in this annual tournament.
Tournament director, Mike Lapitan said the champion will pocket the lion's share of $500.
The runner-up will receive $400, the third placer will receive $300, the fourth $200 and the fifth and sixth placers $150.
Patrick Lee is the supervising arbiter, assisted by Elias Lao, Lito Abril and Hubert Estrella