GMs Antonio, So beat separate foes
May 19, 2009, 5:02pm
Manila Bulletin

SUBIC — Grandmasters Rogelio Antonio Jr. and Wesley So continued to gain ground on their foreign rivals as the 2009 Asian Continental individual chess championship reached its halfway mark at the Subic Exhibition and Convention Center here late Monday.

Antonio crushed GM Abhijit Gupte of India in 42 moves of the Queens Indian while So shrugged off back-to-back draws to whip Rui Gao of China in 32 moves of the Sicilian Najdorf to boost their chances for one of 10 berths to the World Cup scheduled Nov. 20-Dec. 15 in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.

A day after his scintillating triumph over FM Jasem Alhuwar of the United Arab Emirates in the fifth round late Sunday, the 28th-seeded Antonio pounced on a middle game blunder by Gupte to clinch his third win against three draws.

The Philippine Army mainstay, who won 10 of 11 tournaments during a successful campaign in the United States last year, has won three of his last four matches. His only draw during the stretch was against compatriot GM Jayson Gonzales in the fourth round.

“The position was complicated but he (Gupta) made a mistake by offering a pawn,” said Antonio, an 11-time national champion.”I was able to force a queen exchange and was two pawns up in the end.”

The win enabled Antonio to forge a four-ay tie for third to sixth places with 4.5 points, only half a point behind GMs Chanda Sanfipan of India and Le Quang Liem of Vietnam.

Sandipan toppled fellow Indian and top seed Krishnan Sasikiran in 33 moves of the Slav, while Le humbled Gm Ziaur Rahman of Bangladesh in 37 moves of the Queen’s Gambit to gain the lead with five points out of a possible six.

Equally impressive was So, who is threatening to checkmate his talented and upset-conscious Chinese opponent in two moves with his rook and two powerful bishops.


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