by Kristel Satumbaga
Grandmaster Darwin Laylo notched his second straight victory and barged into the Top 20 after five rounds in the Asian Continental Chess Championships in Xingtai, China on Tuesday.
Laylo trounced Vietnamese GM Tran Tuan Minh in 35 moves of a Queen’s Indian Defense to improve to 3 points on three wins and a loss for a share of 16th place in this nine-round tournament.
The 38-year-old Marikina native, however, is 1.5 points behind solo leader GM Murali Karthikeyan, who dumping GM Alireza Firouzja of Iran.
International Master Jan Emmanuel Garcia also shared the day’s limelight with a 36-move victory over IM Daniel Quizon for 2.5 points for a share of 34th place.
The loss put Quizon, 15, in a tie for 59th place with 1.5 points along with GM Eugene Torre, who bowed to Huang Renjie of China in 32 moves of a Sicilian duel.
GM John Paul Gomez drew with Zhang Ziji while IM Paulo Bersamina yielded to Indian GM Suri Vaibhav for identical 2 points in the middle standings.
In women’s action, Woman FIDE Master Shania Mae Mendoza and WIM Marie Antoinette San Diego remained inside the Top 20 with 2.5 points after drawing with their respective rivals.
Mendoza halved the point with WGM Mary Ann Gomes of India in 28 moves of a Sicilian game while San Diego drew with WFM Li Yunshan after 39 moves of a Slav Defense.
WIM Bernadette Galas also settled for a draw with Indian IM Nisha Mohota for 2 points, WIM Kylen Joy Mordido lost to Malaysian WFM Tan Li Ting for 1.5 points and WGM Janelle Frayna absorbed her second straight loss at the expense of China’s Xia Ri Feng to remain at the bottom with 1 point.