by Kristel Satumbaga
Grandmaster John Paul Gomez and International Master Paulo Bersamina opened their campaigns on a bright note after whipping their respective rivals at the start of the Eastern Asian Zonal 3.3 Chess Championships in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Gomez toppled IM John Marvin Miciano while Bersamina walloped FIDE Master Erdenepurev Boldoo of host Mongolia to join 19 others at the helm of the Open Division of this nine-round tournament.
Among those on top were Indonesian GM Susanto Megaranto and Surya Wahyudi, IM Nguyen Van Huy and GM Nguyen Duc Hoa of Vietnam.
Susanto blasted host bet Sugar Gan-Erdene, Wahyudi beat Nyamsuren Batbold, Van Huy routed FM Byambasuren Garidmagnai and Duc Hoa edged compatriot GM Tran Tuan Minh.
Woman Grandmaster Janelle Maye Frayna, meanwhile, split the point with Vietnamese IM Pham Le Thao Nguyen at the start of the women’s division as well as Woman FIDE Master Shania Mae Mendoza, who drew with Mongolian WFM Turmunkh Munkhzul.
Thirteen female woodpushers are on top that included Mongolian IM Batkhuyag Munguntuul, Vietnamese WGMs Hoang Thi Bao Tram and Nguyen Thi Mai Hung and Indonesian WIM Chelsea Sihite.
Munguntuul downed teammate WFM Boldbaatar Altantuya, Hoang defeated WGM Battsooj Amina, Nguyen won over WIM Bayarjargal Bayarmaa and Sihite trounced Tumurbaatar Nomindalai.
Up next for Gomez will be Mongolian GM Bazar Khatanbaatar, who bested fellow IM Gombosuren Munkhgal while Bersamina will also face another Mongolian GM in Tsegmed Batchuluun, who who toppled compatriot Uurtsaikh Agibileg.
Miciano, for his part, clashes with Khuyagtsogt Itgelt also of Mongolia.
Frayna and Mendoza, meanwhile, will meet WGM Nguyen Thi Thanh An of Vietnam and Indonesia’s Irine Kharisma Sukandar.