MANILA, Philippines — Filipino Grandmaster (GM) Roland “Kulot” Salvador regained his old deadly form in his conquest of Thai FIDE Master (FM) Potjirathon Jirapak, and led the opening round winners of the first HD Bank Cup Open Chess Tournament held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Tuesday.

Salvador, a former mainstay of Rizal Technological University-Mandaluyong chess team, will next face FM Pham Chuong of Vietnam.

Chuong is also coming off a win, having brought down fellow Vietnamese Le Thanh Tai.

Other Filipino players who share the lead in the tournament are:

  • GM John Paul Gomez who nipped Tran Quoc Dung of Vietnam;
  • GM Darwin Laylo who toppled IM Mikhail Vasilyev of Ukraine;
  • International Master (IM) Oliver Barbosa who crushed Kongsee Uaychai of Thailand;
  • IM Richard Bitoon who smashed Wang Jue of China;
  • IM Oliver Dimakiling who dealt compatriot Rodolfo Panopio Jr.;
  • IM Kim Steven Yap who stunned Nguyen Duc Viet of Vietnam; and
  • FM Haridas Pascua who prevailed over Iskandar Danial Adam of Malaysia.

Other Filipinos were not as lucky opposite their Vietnamese opponents: Merben Roque settled on a draw against GM Dao Thien Hai, while Emmanuel Senador bowed to Tong Thai Hung. — Marlon Bernardino