Barbosa completes wire-to-wire win in La Union

GRANDMASTER Oliver Barbosa wrapped up the title in the 7th La Union Open Chess Championships with two rounds to spare on Thursday at the Ortega Gym in San Fernando City, La Union.

The pride of Taytay, Rizal lost to GM Mark Paragua after 52 moves of King’s Indian Defense in the 11th and final round, but still ended up all alone on top to collect the championship trophy and the P50,000 prize.

It was the second major title of Barbosa this year following his success in the 10th Parsvnath International Grandmasters Chess Tournament in New Delhi, India last January.

“Oliver is playing in a different level right now,” said GM Eugene Torre. “With him and Wesley (So), the future of Philippine chess looks bright.”

Barbosa toppled International Master Emmanuel Senador in the ninth round to move two points clear of the field with two rounds left. He was already assured of the title with superior tiebreak points by then.

A draw with FIDE Master Deniel Causo in the 10th round put him out of reach with 9.0 points.

GM Darwin Laylo and IM Oliver Dimakiling, who both fell to Barbosa in the earlier rounds, shared second to third places with 8.5 points and took home P20,000 each.

Laylo defeated Causo after 37 moves of Slav while Dimakiling downed GM Richard Bitoon after 42 moves of Smith Morra.

Senador edged FM Paulo Bersamina after 52 moves of Sicilian to finish solo fourth with 8.0 points and get P10,000.

Meanwhile, Fernando Bustamante finished with 5.5 points to nail a hat-trick of special awards.

Bustamante emerged as the top senior and top non-master, netting P2,000 from each award.

He also earned P5,000 for being the top La Union player, beating Michael Manago and Fernando Tadina for the honor. The two got P3,000 and P2,000, respectively.

Also winning P2,000 each were Samantha Glo Revita (top lady), Ferdinand Perillo (top junior) and Junelle Limpiado (top kiddie).

The four-day competition sanctioned by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) and rated by the World Chess Federation (FIDE) was supported by Governor Manuel C. Ortega of La Union, Mayor Pablo C. Ortega of San Fernando City, Rep. Victor F. Ortega, Rep. Eufranio Eriguel, Abono Partylist Rep. Francisco Emmanuel R. Ortega and official hotel Villa Estrella Resort. Noli Cruz


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