NATIONAL Master Rustum Tolentino dominated local chess idol Johnnel Balquin in their goodwill match over the weekend at Cagayan de Oro’s Capitol Chess Park.

Tolentino re-asserted his superiority over Balquin in a best-of-five showdown, 3.5-.5.

Playing white in the opening game, Tolentino favored d4 instead of his usual e4 to slowly grind down Balquin.


“Balquin had a bad position from a dubious variation in the Queen’s Indian. Tolentino’s positional advantage kept growing and after a couple of mistakes, Balquin wound up in a completely hopeless position and was forced to resign,” commented Fr. Vic Arellano, head of Explore MisOr Chess Cooperative.

“We played some years ago in a Goldcrest-sponsored one-on-one and I know his weakness. That’s why I used d4 to mitigate any tactical possibilities nga iyang paborito. Pacquiao man daw siya mao nga nag Mayweather pud ko,” Tolentino said.

Tolentino had a dismal showing in the Barangay Taft tourney in Surigao, finishing second behind International Master Kim Steven Yap of Cebu and finishing ahead of two Cebuano Grandmasters Enrico Sevillano and Richard Bitoon and Davao’s IM Oliver Dimakiling.

“My salute to both players for the peaceful ending of their own face-off. There were no trash talks and ill-feeling towards each other. And I’m hoping that events like this will help them become an elite players nationwide,” said OFW Kagay-anon Eric Fuentes, who represented Emgoldex Spartants International in supporting the Tolentino-Balquin face-off.