GM Gomez secures crown over GM So
By Dale Rosal
Cebu Daily News
First Posted 09:07:00 03/01/2011

The country’s fourth-ranked woodpusher Grandmaster (GM) John Paul Gomez staged a huge upset after nosing out RP no.1 and tournament top-seed GM Wesley So for the title in the Cebu City Charter Day Open Chess Championships yesterday at the Elizabeth Mall activity center.

The second-seeded Gomez, a native from Laguna, beat So for the title after finishing with a bigger tie-break score in the nine-round Swiss format tournament. Both multi-titled woodpushers finished the tournament with 8.0 points.

Gomez secured the P100,000 purse while So brought home P50,000.

The 24-year-old Gomez grabbed the lead in the fifth round after nipping 12th seed National Master (NM) Reggie Olay while So settled for a draw against fifth-seed International Master (IM) Richard Bitoon.

So and Gomez faced each other in the sixth round, with their match ending in a draw after 18 moves of a Sicilian Defense opening.

After his match against So, Gomez got back on track in the seventh round after beating seventh-seed IM Oliver Dimakiling. So, on the other hand, won against 37th-seed Ferdinand Leysa in the same round.

Gomez maintained his lead against So in the eighth round but finished off his campaign with a draw against sixth seed IM Ronald Dableo. So, meanwhile, defeated NM Olay, creating a tie at the top spot after nine rounds.

It was the second time Gomez has beaten So for the crown. The first time was in the 2008 Olympian qualifying with Gomez escaping with a one-point lead.

Gomez, a five-time Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP), said he may play in an international tournament in Dubai this April. He also has his sights on tournaments in UAE and Iran on May and another international tournament in Tagaytay later this year.

Finishing in third place was 11th-seed IM Chito Garma, who had a total of 7.5 points.

Fourth-seed GM Darwin Laylo of Lipa City, Batangas, placed fourth also with 7.5 points followed by IM Dableo in fifth place.

The tournament was organized by the Cebu City government and was sponsored by Rose Pharmacy.


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