GM Eugene Torre does it again

round 5 of the PGMA cup

Torre, looking superbly fit despite four decades of battles in both local and international fronts, outwitted Asian Indoor Games gold medallist and top seed GM Murtas Kazhgaleyev of Kazakhstan in marathon 73 moves of the Nimzo Indian to widen his lead in the third President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Cup international chess championship at the Duty Free Fiesta Mall in Paranaque City.

Torre, at 56 the most-acclaimed Filipino player, found the right moves in the tensely-fought battle that lasted more than four hours and emerged with the biggest smile at the end of another eventful day in this tough, nine-round tournament organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) and supported by Duty Free Philippines, Department of Tourism, Pilipinas Shell, Globe and PAGCOR.

The Quezon City-based Torre held his ground against Kazhgaleyev (ELO 2641) despite playing with the disadvantageous black pieces, engaging in slambang battle and even shunning a bishop sacrifice by his higher-rated opponent during the middle game skirmish.
Then, Torre wisely marshalled his pieces in a brilliant endgame that kept the pressure on Kazhgaleyev to the delight of a big home crowd which braved heavy rains spawned by strorm Marce.

When the end came, Torre has two knights and two well-connected pawns ready for promotion against Kazgaleyev’s solitary rook which stood hopelessly out of place.

“I’m very happy to win this one. It was really a long and tiring struggle against Murtas,” said the obviously-relieved Torre, who is hoping to win his major major international tournament in almost five years.

“Mahaba pa ang laban, but obviously my chances are a lot better now,” added Torre, who has beaten all his five foreign opponents so far in a remarkable performance that rekindled memories of his golden days as one of Asia’s most-feared campaigners.

The win — the fith in as many matches — enabled Torre to take a one-point lead over second seed GM Zhang Zhong of Singapore, defending champion Li Chao of China and fourth seed GM Ehsam Ghaemmaghami of Iran with still four rounds remaining in this US$40,000 tournament.

Zhang, Torre’s sixth-round rival, primed himself up for the much-awaited showdown with a resounding victory over No. 17 GM Li Shilong of China.

Li, who bagged the title after finishing with the highest tiebreak score in a three-way tie for first place last year, crushed GM Darwin Laylo of the Philippines

And Ghaemmaghami, the highest-rated Iranian player and a regular campaigner in the local circuit, dumped IM Weimign Goh ofSingapore to join Zhang and Li in a three-way tie for second to fourth places with four points.

Three-time national junior champion and GM-candidate John Paul Gomez halved the point with last year’s co-winner GM Weiqi Zhou of China to lead a big group of players with 3.5 points.

Gomez, the 22-year-old mechanical engineering student of La Salle, who topped the national qualifying tournament for the RP team to the World Chess Olympiad in Germany, needs at least 2.5 points in the last four rounds to earn a GM result.

GM Mark Paragua and IM Julio Catalino Sadorra also settled for a draw to join Gomez and nine other foreign players with 3.5 points.

The rest of the Filipino players, including Dubai Open champion GM Wesley So, continued their struggle against the foreign bets.

So, at 14 the world’s youngest GM, was held to a draw by the lower-rated Yunguo Wan of China to remain with only three points.

GMs Jayson Gonzales and Buenaventura “Bong” Villamayor both dropped their matches and remained in the lower half of the 72-player field, with Gonzales losing to No. 45 seed Kaiqi Yang of China and Villamayor bowing to No 9 seed GM Marat Dzumaev of Uzbekistan.

IM Richard Bitoon drew with GM Dao Thien Hai of Vietnam, IM Barlo Nadera outplayed compatriot Noel de la Cruz, FM Adrian Pacis whipped Deniel Causo and Randy Segarra outclassed Dino Ballecer to join the three-pointers.

In other notable results, untitled Li Wang of China shocked No. 10 seed GM Susanto Megaranto of Indonesia; IM Rolando Nolte toppled WGM Gu Xiaobing of China; Hamed Nouri surprised WIM Irine Sukandar of Indoensia; world youth campaigner Karl Victor Ochoa subdued comebacking GM-candidate Ronald Dableo; IM Oliver Dimakiling crushed Jan Emmanuel Garcia; Rodrigo Atotubo stopped IM Ronald Bancod; Chrsitopher Castellano downed IM Chito Garma; Yu Lie of China bested Edmundo Gatus; and Mirabeua Maga overwhelmed Reggie Olay.


5 points — E. Torre (Philippines)

4 — Z. Zhong (Singapore), C. Li (China), E. Ghaemmaghami (Iran)

3.5 — J. Gomez (Philippines), L. Wang (China), K. Yang (China), M. Kazhgaleyev (Kazakhstan), W. Zhou (China), M. Paragua (Philippines), M. Mchedlishvili (Georgia), N. A. Dung (Vietnam), J. Sadorra (Philippines), K. Shananava (Uzbekistan), Y. Wen (China), M. Dzumaev (Uzbekistan)

3 — D. Laylo (Philippines), Y. Wan (China), S. Li (China), A. Pacis (Philippines), N. N. Truong Son (Vietnam), R. Bitoon (Philippines), D.T. Hai (Vietnam), R. Segarra (Philippines), W. So (Philippines), Z. Ziyang (China), W. Goh (Singapore), D. Xiu (China), C.H. Hoang (Vietnam), B. Nadera (Philippines)

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