CEBUANO IM Kim Steven Yap scored a victory over GM Hoang Thong Tu of Vietnam in Round 6 to boost his quest to win his first GM norm in the 5th HDBank International Chess Open Tournament in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
The overwhelming victory put Yap two wins away from possibly clinching his first GM norm, which he has been chasing since 2009.
It has never been a difficult ride for Yap but it is not about to get easy as his next opponent will be compatriot GM John Paul Gomez, who is out to win the $120,000 top purse.
Gomez currently shares the 18th to the 34th places with 17 other players, whose scores are 3.0 points after five rounds.
Yap’s victory moved him up to the 11th place, sharing the 7th to the 17th places with 11 players, who also have 3.5 points.
Gomez will be Yap’s fourth GM opponent and beating his good friend would improve his chances of winning a norm.
Aside from Yap, the other players who are also seeking for a GM norm are IMs Haridas Pascua, Oliver Dimakiling and Paulo Bersamina, who were also in good position to win one.
Pascua who has 4.0 points, is currently ranked behind leader GM Quang Liem Le of Vietnam and top seed Chao Li of China who both has 4.5 points.
Bersamina is at the 7th placeand Dimakiling is at 10th place with 3.5 points each.
Yap’s performance rating after Round 5 is 2499, Pascua is 2645, Bersamina has 2560 and Dimakiling’s is 2527.