YOUTH prevailed over experience in the first Robert L. Tan Memorial Blitz Open chess tournament held, over the weekend, at the Rotunda of Limketkai Mall in Cagayan de Oro City.
Young guns John Rey Batucan of Davao City and Christopher Randolph Dalauta of Cagayan de Oro displayed grit and spunk in the five-minute skirmishes of nerves and speed to complete a 1-2 finish in the day-long tourney that attracted over a hundred participants from the Visayas and Mindanao.
Both Batucan and Dalauta zoomed to the top in dramatic fashion.
A piece up in Round 9, Batucan apparently squandered his winning position against fellow leader Allan Cantonjos when the airforce man from Gingoog City resorted to the “touch move” rules.
Losing a clearly won game could be a bitter pill to swallow for the promising Dabawenyo who argued that he just touched to adjust the pieces and had no intention to capture a well-defended pawn in the central squares.
The usual “excuse me” plea, nonetheless, fell on deaf ears as Cantonjos swore he didn’t hear it.
But for the sake of sportsmanship and camaraderie, chief arbiter Domingo Oga declared the disputed match as a draw.
“Obviously, he had no intention to capture but he touched the pieces,” majority of the kibitzers agreed in unison.
From there, Batucan was relentless as he swept his remaining two matches against Rommel Ganzon of Cebu and Edsel Montoya of Bacolod to finish with 10 points and bag the lion’s share of P10,000 for the titular win.
Equally-impressive was Dalauta who conquered the heavily-favored National Master Rustum Tolentino, Fide Master Victor Lluch, Lyndon Lumancas, Johnnel Balquin, Cantonjos, Montoya and Jeriel Manlimbana to amass 9.5 points and pocket the second prize of P7,000 cash.
“Ningkamot lang ko adto unya grasyahan pud ni Lord,” said the always humble Dalauta, a product of Corpus Christi School, who split the point with NM Levi Mercado in Round 10 and suffered his only loss at the hands of eventual champion Batucan.
NM Mercado scored 9 points and received P5,000 for third place.
Making it to the top-15 moneyed circle are Mercado, Ganzon, Tolentino, Cantonjos, Montoya, Fide Master Austin Jacob Literatus, Manlimbana, Perkins Bayron, Jefte Crebillo, FM Lluch, Christian James Aquino, Harrison Maamo and Nazario Ubanan.
With the euphoria generated by the well-attended blitz tourney, NM Roly Tan of the organizing Goldcrest Marketing Corporation did not discount the possibility of holding the Memorial Cup every year as tribute to his late older brother Robert Tan who was an avid fan and supportive to the development of young chess talents in the locality.