INTERNATIONAL Master Oliver Barbosa lived up to his billing as the tournament's favorite, ruling 2nd Kidapawan Chess Open Championship at the Kidapawan Convention Center Sunday in Kidapawan City.

Barbosa finished with six points on five wins and two draws to bag the P15,000 champion's purse of the three-day event organized by the Kidapawan Chess Club Inc., in cooperation with the City Government of Kidapawan and Batch 85-Notre Dame of Kidapawan Boys and Girls HS Alumni Association Inc.

Three other players also scored 6 points each, including national masters Levi Mercado and Rustum Tolentino of Cagayan de Oro City, and Maamo Harrison of Davao City, but Basrbosa emerged on top due to a higher tie-break.

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Mercado, the 2009 Mayor Jaraula Cup Champion, placed second, while Tolentino and Harrison took the third and fourth spots, respectively. Mercado won P10,000, while Tolentino settled for P5,000.

Cotabato City pride NM Sarip Roger gained fifth place with 5.5 points, while 10 woodpushers, including dethroned defending champion NM Edgar Reggie Olay, scored five points to share sixth to 15th places.

Cagayan de Oro's Jhonnel Balquin, Davao City's Peter Tidoy, Koronadal City's Cesar Apalla, Digos City's Lito Laput, General Santos City's Ric Portogalera, Panabo City's NM Cedric Magno and Henry Lopez, Surallah's Ferdinand Leysa, and Kidapawan City's Bob Salanga all finished with five points.

Dr. Ted P. Calica, Kidapawan City Chess Club Inc. president, and city sports coordinator Ramil Deldo led the awarding of trophies, medals and cash prizes to the winners.

Kidapawan City's Philip John Leyson Jr., 2009 Shell Active Chess national finalist, was awarded the Best Junior Player of the tournament after scoring 4.5 points.

Special awards were also given to Davao City's John Ray Batucan as Best Kiddie Player with 4.5 points and Nikki Erica Yngayo as Best Female Player with 4 points. They also received medals and cash prizes.

The major cities in Mindanao were well-represented in the Kidapawan Open Chess Championship as rated and non-rated players from Davao, Cotabato, Digos, Malita, Panabo, Cagayan de Oro, Koronadal, General Santos and the host city participated in the tournament, which ushered the city's celebration of its founding anniversary.

About half of the 74 participants came from Kidapawan City. Aside from Olay, Salanga and Leyson, Garry Carcalas, Felipe Leyson, Eddie Resurrecion Jr., Edwin Dua and Roy Calica all of Kidapawan City fared well in the tournament by scoring four points each.

Dr. Calica extended his gratitude to all the participants and sponsors of the Kidapawan Open Chess Championship, which is expected to become an annual event.