FILIPINO Grandmaster (GM)Joey Antonio crushed French GM Eric Prie to seize a share of the lead almost halfway through the Open 50+ division of the 30th FIDE World Senior Chess Championship in Umbria, Italy Saturday.
The 60-year-old Olympiad veteran defended well against Mr. Prie’s coffeehouse tactics and ended up snatching a pawn and going an exchange up to essay a 47-move triumph in their center-counter game.
It was a win that propelled Mr. Antonio straight to the top alongside GMs Darcy Lima of Brazil, Maxim Novik of Lithuania and Frank Holzke of Germany with 4.5 points apiece after five rounds of this 11-round tournament.
Messrs. Lima and Novik split the point on top board while Holzke downed International Master David Cummings of Canada.
Mr. Antonio will try to hang on to a piece of the top spot as he was battling Mr. Lima in the sixth round at press time.
The Filipino online chess iron man is hoping to finally win here after coming close to accomplishing it five years ago also in Acqui Terme, Italy where he eventually wound up second behind winner GM Julio Granda Zuniga of Peru.
“Still a long way to go but I hope to sustain my momentum,” said Mr. Antonio who also bested Igor Tsyn of Israel, FIDE Master Milan Kolesar of Slovakia and IM Ali Hussein Al-Ali Hussein of Iraq in the first three rounds before halving the point with second seed GM Ivan Morovic Fernandez of Chile in the fourth round. — Joey Villar