Garma stuns Torre, seizes chess lead

TAGAYTAY City—Veteran IM Chito Garma achieved what many other local players failed to do: Beat Asia’s first GM Eugene Torre.

Garma, one of the country’s strongest players who never became a GM, pulled the rug from under Torre to share the lead with Haifa Olympiad veteran NM Cesar Caturla in the fifth round of the 9th Asian Seniors’ Chess Championship at the Tagaytay International Convention Center here Wednesday.

Garma, a two-time Olympian in Novi Sad (1990) and Manila (1992), defeated Torre in  56 moves of the London opening in a stirring upset that brought to mind similar interesting battles in the past.

The 54-year-old former University of Manila standout, who is seeded fourth with an ELO of 2317,  forced Torre to resign under a threat of a mate or a loss of material in the rook and pawn endgame.

The win by Garma snapped Torre’s 12-game winning streak, which included a nine-game sweep of last year’s edition held in Auckland, New Zealand.

It was also the first loss by Torre to a local player since WGM Janelle Mae Frayna defeated him during the 2015 Battle of GMs at the Rizal Memirial Sports Manila.

Caturla, who served as coach of the national women’s team in several Olympiads, trounced FM Syarif Mahmud of Indonesia to boost his bid for the US$500 top prize in the  34-player,  nine-nation tournament.

Garma and Caturla are only half a point ahead of IM Petronio Roca and a full point clear of Torre, NM Carlo Lorena, IM Angelo Young, Roulzon Roullo and FM Rinas Oleg of Kazakhstan.

Roca demolished Than Khin of Myanmar to raise his score to four points.

Lorena trounced Kuanishbek Jumadullayev of Kazakhstan, Young  subdued FM Adrian Pacis, Roullo bested NM Stewart Manaog and Rinas outplayed  Tony Davis of  Australia in other key matches in the event hosted by the Tagaytay City government, through Cavite 7th District Cong. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino Jr. and Tagaytay City Mayor Agnes Tolentino.

Three-time women’s champion Helen Milligan of New Zealand  beat Olympian Mila Emperado in all-female showdown to improve to 2.5/5.

The tournament is organized by Tagaytay Chess Club on behalf of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines and Asian Chess Federation and supported by the Philippine Sports Commission.

Tournament director Mike Lapitan said the winners wll bring home cash prizes and medals.

The champion will pocket $500, the runner-up will earn $400, the  third  placer will receive $300, the fourth  $200 and the fifth and sixth placers $150.

In the over-65, the champion will bring home $350, the runner-up $200, the third placer $150 and fourth and fifth placers $100.

The top female players will receive $300 (over-50) and over-65 ($100).

Patrick Lee is the supervising arbitee, assisted by Elias Lao,  Lito Abril, and Hubert Estrella     

The moves:

Round 5

E. Torre vs. C. Garma

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 e6 3.Bf4 Bd6 4.Bg3 c5 5.e3 Nc6 6.c3 Nge7 7.Nbd2 O-O 8.Bd3 f5 9.O-O c4 10.Bc2 b5 11.Ne5 Bxe5 12.dxe5 b4 13.Ba4 bxc3 14.bxc3 Qa5 15.Bxc6 Nxc6 16.Qc2 Rb8 17.Rfb1 Bd7 18.f4 Rb6 19.Bf2 Nb8 20.Rxb6 axb6 21.Rb1 b5 22.Nf3 Na6 23.Bh4 Re8 24.h3 Nc5 25.g4 fxg4 26.hxg4 Ra8 27.Nd4 Ne4 28.Be1 Qxa2 29.Qxa2 Rxa2 30.Nxb5 Bxb5 31.Rxb5 Re2 32.Rb8+ Kf7 33.Rb7+ Kg6 34.Bh4 h5 35.f5+ exf5 36.Rb6+ Kh7 37.gxf5 Rxe3 38.e6 Nf6 39.Bf2 Re4 40.Bd4 Kh6 41.Rb2 Kg5 42.Rf2 h4 43.Kg2 Kg4 44.Bxf6 gxf6 45.Kh2 Re3 46.Kg2 h3+ 47.Kh2 Re5 48.Rf1 Re2+ 49.Kh1 Kg3 50.Rd1 h2 51.Rf1 Re3 52.Rd1 d4 53.cxd4 c3 54.e7 c2 55.Ra1 Rxe7 56.d5 Rb7   0-1

Topics: IM Chito Garma , GM Eugene Torre , 9th Asian Seniors’ Chess Championship

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