By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
FIDE Master Mari Joseph Turqueza bolstered his bid for an Olympiad berth after taking the solo lead after five rounds in the “Road to Batumi” chess championships at the Alphaland Makati Place on Tuesday.
Turqueza walloped International Master Richelieu Salcedo III in 28 moves of an English Opening to post his third straight victory and improve to 4.5 points on four wins and one draw.
He is currently half a point ahead of IM Jan Emmanuel Garcia, who slipped for solo second after settling for a draw with IM Haridas Pascua on 30 moves of a Slav Exchange.
Grandmaster Joey Antonio, one of the veterans in the seven-round tournament, trailed at third with 3.5 points following a 20-move triumph over FM Roberto Suelo Jr. of Sicilian Alapin game, while bunched up at fourth with identical 3 points were GM John Paul Gomez, IM Paulo Bersamina, Pascua and Salcedo.
In women’s play, Woman FIDE Master Shania Mae Mendoza joined Woman International Master Marie Antoinette San Diego on top with similar 3 points after besting Jerlyn San Diego in the fourth round.
Marie Antoinette slightly improved to 3 points after halving a point with WFM Allaney Jia Doroy, while Doroy remained at third with 2.5 points.