Vindication for GM Antonio

TUGUEGARAO, Cagayan – GM Rogelio Antonio Jr. underscored his billing as the country’s top rapid player when he rule the first PACE-Tuguegarao Open Chess  Festival held at the Paseo Reale Mall here late Sunday.

Antonio, making a final push to be included in the Philippine team to the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China next month,  finished with a nine-round total of eight points on seven wins and two draws to capture his first major title in  local soil this year.

The multi-awarded campaigner from Calapan, Oriental  Mindoro, who is hoping to regain  his spot in the team following the suspension slapped on him by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP),  finished in a two-way tie for the top spot with top seed GM Wesley So with eight points but earned the title by virtue of higher tiebreak score.

Antonio and So, who  drew their match in the sixth round, pocketed P17,5000  from the combined first and second cash prizes in this two-day festival organized by the Philippine Academy for Chess Excellence (PACE) in cooperation with Compuserve Land Surveying Company and the Cagayan and Tuguegarao  provincial and city governments.

In the ninth and final round, Antonio outduelled NM Rolando Nolte, while So whipped IM Oliver Dimakiling in a pair of keenly-watched matches.

“Talagang  pinagbutihan ko para manalo dito sa Tuguegarao Open,” said Antonio, who is knocking on the door of NCFP president /chairman Prospero “Butch” Pichay to be reinstated in the national team in time for the Asian Games.

Jennifer Baquiran,  who represented Gov. Alvaro Antonio, awarded the trophies and cash prizes to the winners, assisted by  Asia’s first GM Eugene Torre and PACE founder GM Jayson Gonzales.

Comebacking  IM Oliver Barbosa trounced  upset-consicous NM Ronald Llavanes to clinch solo third place with 7.5 points. He earned P10,000.

Seven players, led by Far Eastern University assistant coach NM Alex MIlagrosa, finished in fourth to 10 th places with seven points.

Joining  MIlagrosa with seven points are GM John Paul Gomez, IM Oliver Dimakiling, GM Darwin Laylo,  Merben Roque, Ruichard Natividad and NM Carlo Lorena.

IM Barlo Nadera led a big group of players with 6.5 points.

Khanty-Mansiysk Olympiad veteran Rulp Ylem Jose finished with six points to earn top female player award.   Radito Torres

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