Tandag tops Inter-Cities

TANAUAN CITY – Tandag City, led by Grandmaster Richard Bitoon, topped   Bacolod Negros/NICA,  3-1,  in a down-the-wire battle to emerge as overall team champion in the 2011 National Inter-Cities and Municipalities Chess Team Championship on Monday (November 7) at the Tanauan Event Center here.

The win was worth P150,000  for the Tandag City campaigners,  who secured a berth in the finals after scraping past tough  Davao City, 2.5-1.5  in the crossover semifinals.

The Ilonggos, who dispatched elimination topnotcher Mandaluyong Ciy, 3-1, in the other semifinal pairing settled for second overall and went home with P90,000.

Bitoon, who officially became the country’s  newest GM alongside Oliver Barbosa only two weeks ago, Fide Master Jan Emmanuel Garcia and Narquingen Reyes secured the crucial wins in the “Armageddon” playoff  after the Ilonggos,   backstopped by  FIDE Master Hamed Nouri,  forged a 2-2 draw.

In the “Armageddon,” the player handling the white pieces is given a 6-5 advantage in time but the player with the black pieces needs only a draw to win.

Bitoon, armed with the advantageous white pieces, crushed Nouri; Garcia outwitted Sander Severino; and Reyes downed Raymund dela Pena. Joel Pimentel secured the only win for Bacolod after defeating Sherwin Tiu on board three.

In the battle for third, Davao City of Mayor Inday Sara Duterte, routed Mandaluyong, 3-1, in another “Armageddon” finish to clinch third place and win P60,000.  The Mayor Benhur Abalos-supported Mandaluyong City,  which topped the  elimination round with 13 match points only to lose steam in the semis, settled for fourth worth P40,000.

On hand to give the awards to the winners at the close of the week-long tournament are local officials led by Tanauan City Vice Mayor Julius Caesar Platon and Tanuan Economic Council president Feliciano Torres, executive director Atty. Ruel Canobas and National Chess Federation of the Philippines officials led by chairman and president Prospero Pichay and secretary general and Tagaytay City Mayor Abraham Tolentino.

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