Nolte draws with Gomez, keeps lead at ASEAN Chess Championship

International Master Rolando Nolte drew with Grandmaster John Paul Gomez to remain at the helm alongside top seed GM Susanto Megaranto of Indonesia after four rounds in the AQ Prime ASEAN Chess Championship at the Great Eastern Hotel in Quezon City Monday night, Feb. 13.

IM Rolando Nolte currently has three points after four rounds in the ASEAN Chess Championship. (Tournament Images)

The 50-year-old Nolte only needed 14 moves of a Ruy Lopez Opening to improve to three points to keep his grip on the top spot.

It also kept Nolte’s bid of claiming the second of the three results required to become a full-fledged GM, a goal that has pursued for decades now since taking up the sport.

Nolte, who got his first norm in the Kolkata Open in India, has been riding the crest of his third place finish in last December’s Manny Pacquiao International Open in General Santos where he ended up tied for first and eventually third and the highest Filipino finisher.

Meanwhile, Megaranto, a Southeast Asian Games gold medalist, also tightened his hold of the top seat after outlasting Vietnamese GM Nguyen Van Huy in 67 moves of a Catalan.

GM Darwin Laylo had the chance to join the lead pack but blew a winning game to settle for a 61-move draw of a French duel with IM Yeoh Li Tian of Malaysia

The standoff sent Laylo in a four-man chase pack with 2.5 points each, half a point behind the leaders.

In that bunch with Laylo were Gomez, Yeoh and IM Paulo Bersamina, who drew with Indonesian IM Yoseph Theolifus Taher in 36 moves of a Caro-Kann Defense.

IM Daniel Quizon, for his part, continued his ascent from an atrocious two-loss start and drew with Vietnamese Dau Khuong Duy in 40 moves of a Sicilian Defense to improve to 1.5 points in this 11-round event organized by the Kamatyas Chess Club.