LOCAL chess hero Johnnel Balquin and the rest of Cagayan de Oro’s top bets looked like they will have it all in the early rounds after a strong showing.
In fact, the Oro juniors even managed to share the lead with their older compatriots after the first day of action of the 2nd Mayor Oscar Moreno Inter-Team Open Chess Tournament at the Green Lane 2nd floor of the Limketkai Mall here.
But the visiting Dabawenyos made a whirlwind comeback in the final day of skirmishes to break the heart of the homeground chessers.
Team AGM Lopez 2 of Panabo, Davao del Norte, anchored by the threesome of John Christian Lesaca, Jay Bulicatin and Paul John Lauron surprisingly blanked the Balquin-powered Team Chesson, 3-0 in the seventh and final round. And with its sister Team AGM Lopez 1 of Henry Roger Lopez, Sonny Pasco and Eutemio Coquilla also coming back strong after yielding to Balquin’s Chesson midway of the `Tatluhan’ Rapid chessfest, the Davao entries completed a 1-2 finish with a similar 12 match points.
After the tiebreaker, Lesaca’s AGM 2 captured the champion’s purse of P50,000. While Lopez’s AGM 1 claimed the runner-up prize of P25,000.
The CDO R Canz, with veteran Jokorn Maestrado relying on the youthful pair of Ronald Canino and Adrian Othniel Patricio Yulo on boards 1 and 2, edged out fellow 11-pointer Chesson in the Bucholz tiebreak to bag the third prize, P15,000.
Balquin’s Chesson got the fourth prize worth P10,000. While Bacolod’s Team NICA of Ellan Asuela, Syrel June Coleta and Eric Abanco received the fifth prize of P5,000 after superior tiebreak results over fellow 10-pointers Gigi Go’s Avila Warriors (Jaime Joshua Frias II, Bryan Jose, Silverio Abasolo), Cebu’s Black Beard (Joel Pacuribot, Carlos Moreno III, Alfer Joseph Fernandez) and Zamboanga City’s Mower of National Master Joey Albert Florendo, Norman Longjas and Noel Rey Gullan.
Together with 9-pointers Team Dumadag B (Allan Cantonjos, Paciano Gulle, Jake Gonzales) and Team Kawasaki (Harison Maamo, Roland Sajetarios, Aljie Cantonjos), the rest of the top-10 finishers received P3,000 each also with trophies.
“It’s heartbreaking pero naa man gyod ingon-ana sa chess nalaras mi nila sa last round. Gipeldi namo ang Team A sa Davao pero naresbakan sab`mi sa ilang Team B,” the workaholic Balquin told SunStar Cagayan de Oro.
The Kapitan Banaag-sponsored Oro Junior Warriors of David Ancheta, Clyde Saraos and Christian Aquino, after a forgettable show on Day 2, skidded to 18th place but still settled for the consolation prize of P2,000 and trophy as the top high school team.
The country’s so-called `Russian Killer’ David Elorta was also competing, though his Team Dumadag A from Bukidnon failed to win the marbles with practically only him scoring.
“Palaging maaga tayong manalo sa board one, pero silat naman sa lower boards so, move on na lang,” said the blitz expert Elorta of Manila, who is set to try his luck anew in the cash-rich Pacman chess team tourney in General Santos City.