NM Mercado dominates Christmas open chess tilt

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Friday, December 27, 2013


FIRST, the student. Now, it’s his mentor’s time to shine in the season-ending chess tournament in Cagayan de Oro City.

National Master Rustum Tolentino, after his convincing win in Aurora, Zamboanga del Sur, was favored to rule the just-concluded Open Chess Tournament at the SM Mall in the city.

But with his chess mentor around, Tolentino can only be proud sharing second to third places with fellow 6.5-pointer Johnnel Balquin.

NM Levi Mercado, proving age doesn’t matter in checkered rivalry, collected 7 points to dominate the 1st Frans Leo Hanson Open Chess Tournament that drew hundreds of young and old woodpushers at the SM City Mall.

The ageless Mercado defeated Cosain Magarang, newly-crowned Villanueva Fiesta 'Class B' titlist Rodney Opada, Ronnie Pujas, Eutemio Coquilla and Mario Cagulada in succession, then split the points with Victor Lluch and Tolentino in the last two rounds to secure the top prize.

“Si Baby (Levi Mercado) gyod akong mentor sa chess. And IÆm happy that he still has that winning character,” said Tolentino.

Prior to winning the Christmas tournament, Mercado had long been forsaken eating meats among other unhealthy foods.

“Galikay na ko after na-operahan ko sa gall bladder. Advantage sab sa chess pag gulay-gulay ug isda na lang kay maayo ang dagan sa analysis,” Mercado told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.

Fide Master Victor Lluch of Iligan grabbed the fourth place via superior tiebreak points over fellow 6-pointers Magarang, Cagulada and Nazario Ubanan.

Completing the top-15 finishers were Coquilla, Allan Cantonjos, John Vincent Cayaba, Pujas, Julius Ablin, Renan Cantilado, Madid Macasimbar and Lyndon Lumancas.

Class B player Rey Laput also made it to the top-20 along with Maximo Ramos, Emmanuel Crisologo, Rico Marave and Jerry Isra.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on December 27, 2013.

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