CAGAYAN de Oro ace Johnnel Balquin rebounded from his so-so performance here by holding Grandmaster Rogelio ‘Joey’ Antonio to a draw en route to a runner-up finish in the first Dr. Marlonsky Cup Open Chess Tournament, held August 11 to 12 in Davao City.
GM Antonio lived up to his top-seed billing, scoring seven points in nine rounds to bag the championship trophy and the P20,000 top purse.
Balquin, who split the point with Antonio in the seventh round, actually tied with local boy John Rey Batucan at 6.5 points but got the second prize worth P15,000 after the tiebreaker.
Batucan settled for the P10,000 third prize also with trophy.
“Naa unta koy chance kay GM (Antonio) makasilat kay white akong piyesa pero gahi gyod,” later said Balquin, who hit rock bottom in the first ever Robert Tan Memorial Cup at Limketkai Center, Cagayan de Oro.
Balquin leads a strong cast of CDO players now dueling it out in the ongoing Open Fiesta Chess Tournament in El Salvador City, Misamis Oriental.
“Naa gyo’y panirada si Balkimir pero, at least, nipatak gihapon ko,” said Brgy. Consolacion pride Nazario Ubanan, the only other Kagay-anon who made it to the moneyed top-10 circle in Davao City chessfest.
Also making it were Ferdiand Leysa, Rhyman Arce, NM Macacuna Macala, NM Alexander Lupian, Jimzon Trangia, Gino Asuncion, Arnel Aton and Jayson Salubre.