GRANDMASTERS Mark Paragua and John Paul Gomez made short work of their opening-round opponents in the Philippine Sports Commission Cup International Chess Championships on Monday at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.
Paragua beat Roel Abelgas in 23 moves of a King’s Indian Defense, while Gomez downed National Master Efren Bagamasbad in 21 moves of a French Defense in the nine-round Swiss-system tournament.
Paragua and Gomez are among the top local bets in the tournament, which is missing 19-year-old GM Wesley So who is studying in the US.
Also competing are GMs Eugene Torre, Oliver Barbosa, Joey Antonio, Darwin Laylo and Richard Bitoon.
GM Aleksandr Rakhmanov of Russia, who has an Elo rating of 2612, is the top-seed of the international tournament that also attracted players from Mongolia, Brunei, and India.
The US$30,000 tournament offers US$6,000 to the champion.