REDEEMED self was all National Master Rustum Tolentino did in the just-concluded Barangay 26 Fiesta Nazareno Open chess tournament here.

Considered as Cagayan de Oro's most active titled player with great exposures in international events here and abroad, the Barangay Balulang pride Tolentino made up for his dismal performance in the Mayor Jaraula Cup Christmas Open by topping the succeeding chess competition in the city hosted by Barangay 26.

For updates from around the country, follow Sun.Star on Twitter

Tolentino, who managed just 5.5 points to crash out in prize circle of the nine-round Swiss Jaraula Cup, defeated Johnnel Balquin en route to pocketing the P4,000 top purse of the "Feast of Nazarene" chessfest that was concluded Tuesday.

"Permi lang `ta second ani basta naa ang duha ka masters," Balquin said in half jest.

Balquin also placed second to eventual champion NM Levi Mercado in the cash-rich Jaraula Cup that offered over P100,000 in cash prizes to the winners at the City Tourism Hall last December 28-30.

Saddled by a string of draws, Mercado, however, settled at fourth place behind Tolentino, Balquin and Eutemio Coquilla in the city's first ever chess tourney in the Year of the Tiger.

"Dapat wala na lang ko midula kay nag-LBM ko. But we're duty-bound to be there inorder to promote the game we love most to the young ones," Mercado later told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.

Rounding up the top-10 finishers in Barangay 26 are John Vincent Cayaba, Madrigal Bantuas, Keith Ibaoc, Silverio Abasolo, Fujian Gomonit and Emmanuel Crisologo.

Cagayan de Oro's top four juniors in Richelieu "Jongjong" Salcedo III, Lennon Hart Salgados, Randolph Christopher Dalauta and Alfredo Rapanot Jr. apparently failed to show up in the New Year's event, owing to school-related activities.

Taking in their place, however, was the "brave heart" 14-year-old Ibaoc who conquered the likes of Class A campaigners Paciano Gulle of Balingasag and Capitol Chess Club mainstay Leo Dinglasan to occupy the seventh spot.

NM Roger Verganio and National Arbiter Domingo Oga Jr., who supervised the two-day chessfest, expressed thanks to Barangay 26 chair Alex dela Cerna and the sponsoring Generation Bar & Chez Andre for the 2010 year-breaking event.