GRANDMASTERS Joey Antonio and Darwin Laylo kept the lead in the 2012 National Open Chess Championships after downing separate rivals on Wednesday at the Paraw Club in Boracay.
Antonio, the 12-time national champion from Oriental Mindoro, beat Fide Master Randy Segarra while Laylo, the former national junior titlist, subdued International Master Emmanuel Senador.
Both players now have 8.0 points on three wins and two draws each as they remain on track of earning outright berths in the men’s national team seeing action in this year’s World Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey from August 27 to September 10.
Three outright seats to the Olympiad are at stake in the meet that offers P655,000 in total prizes.
Top Filipino player GM Wesley So (Elo2650) is already assured of a slot in the team, while the National Chess Federation of the Philippines has the option to pick the fifth player who will complete the squad.
GM Mark Paragua stayed within reach of both Antonio and Laylo after scoring his third straight win, defeating GM Julio Catalino Sadorra. He now has 7.0 points on three wins, one draw and one loss.
Top seed GM Oliver Barbosa, qualifier IM Oliver Dimakiling and Asia’s first GM Eugene Torre were another point behind with 6.0 points.
Barbosa trounced FM Roderick Nava; Dimakiling downed Richard Bitoon; and Torre drew with GM Rogelio Barcenilla.
Meanwhile, Bernadette Galas and Jean Karen Enriquez each had 8.0 points to share the lead in the women’s side.
Woman International Master Catherine Perena and Woman National Masters Janelle Mae Frayna and Jan Jodilyn Fronda were right behind them with 7.0 apiece.
The top three finishers in the women’s will gain outright seats to the Olympiad.