With 4 events stashed together on the same weekend, it is inevitable that the entries for this event would suffer. However, the quality of the players in the Thomson Gold Section is certainly impressive, with GM Julio Catalino Sadorra, GM Eldar Gasanov, IM Terry Toh, Nelson Mariano III, Jarred Neubronnner and Tan Weiliang as the top seeds.
In Round 2, the upsets began as Cyrus Low held GM Gasanov to a draw. FM Lim Hoon Cheng opined that Cyrus could have played for more, having eschewed a Queen move which would have led to an extremely advantageous position.
Nelson Mariano III, essaying a Benko Gambit against GM Sadorra, gambled on a Queen Sacrifice (for Rook and Knight) rather than to give up the initiative. It paid dividends as Sadorra missed 31...a4!
Meanwhile, IM Terry Toh demonstrated why Black should not give up his d pawn for White's c pawn in the Reti System.
With Sadorra and Gasanov bounced down to Bd 3 (Sadorra won) in the 3rd Round, the following games occured on Board 1 and 2.
So after 3 rds, Terry is the sole leader with 3/3. It will be a stern test for him as he has yet to meet any of the other big guns.
Terry's attempt to win his 4th consecutive game was stymied when Jarred Neubronner drew against him.
Meanwhile, GM Sadorra accounted for Limono, Nelson outplayed Weiliang in the endgame and GM Gasanov took out Reinhard Sellmair. In the battle of the Indians, Srinivasaraghvan Raghuramann beat Anoop Jayaraj to set up a top board meeting with Terry.
An interesting fight between Sadorra and Jarred had the GM demonstrating his tactical prowess.
The tactical melee about to break out.
Meanwhile, GM Gasanov could not make headway against an ultra solid Weiliang,
Round 6 saw the much awaited encounter between Terry and Sadorra. Terry attempted to bludgeon the opponent in the opening and was impressively repelled.
This virtually decided the tournament as in Round 7, Sadorra defeated Srinivasaraghvan after slowly but surely converting a pawn advantage with great accuracy. Terry 'smoked Weiliang' to finish 2nd and finally, Nelson Mariano and Jarred Neubronner drew a hard fought game to emerge 3rd and 4th respectively.
All in all, an impressively organized event, with a decent prize fund (2nd only to Cairnhill Open, I think), excellent venue (air-conditioning too!) and free lunch(!). The newly wed Sadorra will thus travel back to the Phillipines to compete in the gruelling 17 rounds Olympiad qualifier with 300 dollars (for his bride?). Also, IM Terry Toh, who has not played a tourney for more than 4 years, showed that he is still a force to be reckoned with.