Standings after seven rounds:

5.5 points -– Z. Azmaiparashvili (Singapore)

5.0 –- O. Barbosa (Philippines)

4.5
— NV. Huy (Vietnam), R. Bitoon (Philippines), D. T. Hai (Vietnam),
J. Gomez (Philippines), S. Megaranto (Indonesia), S. Yap (Philippines)

SINGAPORE,
Dec. 30 (PNA) — Former national junior champion IM Oliver Barbosa kept
the Philippine flag flying by drawing with top seed GM Zurab
Azmaiparashvili of Singapore in the seventh round of the 2010 ASEAN
Open Chess championships at the Stanfield Residences along Vernon Road
here Wednesday.

Barbosa,
who rose to prominence by winning both the national junior championship
and national under-18 crown in 2004, also drew with IM Nguyen Van Huy
of Vietnam in the fifth round and won over compatriot Reggie Olay in the
sixth round to stay within striking distance with five points on three
wins and four draws.

The
24-year-old campaigner from Pasig City remained only half a point
behind Azmaiparashvili in this prestigious, 32-player tournament held as
part of the annual Singapore International Chess Festival.

Azmaiparashvili,
a highly-rated Georgian player who now plays for Singapore, halved the
point with GM Susanto Megaranto of Indonesia in the fifth round before
beating erstwhile Filipino frontrunner IM Richard Bitoon the following
round.

Six
players, led by GM John Paul Gomez and Cebu sensation IM Kim Steven
Yap, also stayed in contention with 4.5 points out of a possible seven.

Gomez,
seeded fourth with an ELO of 2522, followed up back-to-back draws with
compatriot Nelson Mariano III and IM Nguyen Van Huy with a victory over
FM Nguyen Duc Hoa of Vietnam.

Yap,
a protégée of Cebu businessman-sportsman Boojie Lim, held fifth seed GM
Dao Thien Hai of Vietnam to a fighting draw in the seventh round. He
earlier won over Sean Cuhendi of Indonesia and countryman Merben Roque
in the fifth and sixth rounds.

Also
with 4.5 points are Bitoon, who sandwiched the loss to Azmaiparashvili
with a draw over Dao and a win over Mariano; and Megaranto, who settled
for draws with Azmaiparashvili, Dao and Nguyen in his last three
assignments.

Olay and Singapore-based Filipino IM Enrique Paciencia led three other players with four points.

GM
Jayson Gonzales whipped Andika Pityra of Indonesia and drew with FM
Timothy Chan of Singapore to lead a big group of players with 3.5
points.

In
the women’s division, Far Eastern University standout Rulp Ylem Jose
drew with Liu Yang of Singapore and Citra Dewi of Indonesia to remain in
a tie for 10th to 16th places with three points.

Jose is joined by fellow Filipina campaigners Jedara Docena and Beverly Mendoza.

In
the accompanying Singapore Open, FEU champion Sheider Nebato crushed
fifth seed Shen Siyuan of China to forge a two-way tie for second to
third places with 5.5 points.

Nebato,
who swept his first four assignments, is one and a half points behind
top seed GM Wen Yang, who remained unbeaten in seven games.

GM
Buenaventura “Bong” Vilamayor drew with Myo Naing of Maynmar and
Christopher Castellano beat WFM Patil Metali of India to join a big
group of players with five points.

Three
other Filipino campaigners — Ritchie Evangelista, Kevin Mirano and
Paulo Bersamina –- remained within the lower half of the 74-player field
with 4.5 points.

Lovelyn Medina has 3.5 points while Ronna Reigner Senora has 2.5 points.

In
the age-group categories, Janelle Mae Frayna demolished Khei Tar Kang
of Malaysia to stay in contention with 5.5 points on five wins, one draw
and one loss.

Frayna,
one of several talented FEU players in the tournament, lost to Hisham
Nur Nabila of Malaysia in the fifth round and drew with Monisha Raja of
Singapore the following round.

In
the boys’ 14 under, Paul Robert Evangelista dumped Rod Attakaatsur of
Indonesia and compatriot Vince Angelo Medina to vault into solo second
place with six points.

Evangelista, also of FEU, is a full point behind Le Tuan Minh of Vietnam.

Jerad Docena humbled Huang Jie and Calvin Ong of Singapore to raise his record to five points.

Dominque
Laghula outplayed Sentosa Yuliana of Indonesia and Shawn Yong of
Singapore and drew with Nguyen Van Hai of Vietnam to move into a tie for
third and fourth places with five points.

The
Filipinos’ campaign in the week-long championships is supported by the
National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP), headed by
president/chairman Prospero “Butch” Pichay and secretary-general and
Tagaytay City Mayor Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino. (PNA)
scs/LOR/pr