Standings after five rounds:
17.5 – INA-RTCC
15.5 – Caviaga Lubricant
14.5 – Penang
14.0 – Tagaytay City, Team Astro, Marfori Philippines
13.5 – IRI-MAS, Calamba City, Jakarta Chess Club, Johor
13.0 – Perak Junior
12.5 – MISC Bhd, Ipoh Linau Bali, Astro
12.0 – The Four Seasons, Sarawak, Sabah, Roschach
KUALA Lumpur, Malaysia --- Tagaytay City survived a roller-coaster ride in the last three rounds to stay within striking distance of the leaders after five rounds of action in the 29th Merdeka Open Chess Team Championship at the Ballroom, CitiTel Hotel here.
The GM Rogelio Antonio-led squad stumbled against an all-Indonesian team on Saturday, 1-3, but racked up five points in the next two rounds against fellow Filipino bidders Marfori Philippines, 3-1, and drew with fifth-ranked Team Astro, 2-2, yesterday to bring their total to 14 points, just 3.5 points adrift of solo leader INA-RTCC, who had 17.5 points going into yesterday’s sixth round.
Antonio, a sergeant at the HSSG of the Philippine Army under Commanding Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit, led Tagaytay’s assault against the Ronald Dableo-led Marfori Philippines, scoring the full point against IM Oliver Dimakiling at the top board.
Samson Lim, a former varsity chess player for UST, scored the other full point against Daneil Causo, while GM Darwin Laylo and Willie Abalos settled for draws against GM-elect Ronald Dableo and Winston Silva, respectively.
Against Team Astro, it was Lim who pulled through, winning against Muhammad Abdul Haq after Laylo dropped his match against GM Iuldachev Saidali of Uzbekistan at Board 2, and Antonio and Abalos drew with GM Dzhumaev Marat, also of Uzbekistan, and Tham Tick Hong Jax of Malaysia, respectively.
Marfori Philippines kept pace with Tagaytay with identical 14 points, bouncing back from the loss to Tagaytay with a 4-0 drubbing of Calamba B led by Rustum Tolentino and Roehbel Legaspi.
In the sixth round, Tagaytay City faces Penang (14.5), an all-Malaysian team backstopped by Tam Kahi Boon and Ng Tze Han. Penang is coming off a 2.5-1.5 win over Calamba City.
INA-RTCC takes on Caviaga Lubricant (15.5) at the top board, while SMS-Gold (15.0) tests the mettle of Bhayangkara Police R.I. (15.0) on Board 2.
“Tiyagaan na lang ito. May four rounds pang natitira. Maraming pang pwedeng mangyari,” said Antonio, who last Saturday won a side blitz tournament, where he topped a field of more than 50 players.
The 47-year old Antonio emerged tied with Iran’s Ghaem Maghami Ehsan with 9.5 points, but won the solo title per tournament rule.
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