THE so-called "super non-masters" took centerstage in the cash-rich "tatluhan" team event of the 2nd Robert Tan Memorial Cup successfully held, June 29 to 30 at the Limketkai Mall, Cagayan de Oro City.
Without any master (GM, IM, FIDE, NM) in their rosters, the Manila-based King Nico Tire 1 (Don Tyrone delos Santos, Ricardo Batcho, Rommel Llavanes) and host team Goldcrest Marketing Corporation (Johnnel Balquin, Christian Arroyo, Bobby Salomon) dominated the field with 13 and 12 match points to show in seven rounds to claim the championship trophy and the runner-up prize worth P100,000 and P70,000, respectively.
The King Nico chessers, powered by the solid 6 of 7 performance by Llavanes on board 3, won all their first six team matches before splitting the point with second-running Goldcrest Marketing in the final 7th round for the crowning glory.
The GMC wards of National Master and businessman Roly Tan produced just 2 points on board 3, but Arroyo scored heavily on board 2 (6.5/7) to pave the way for the 41-year-old Balquin's biggest "payday" in his colorful chess career.
"Balkimir (Balquin) is reputedly the most successful local player in the three-day chessfest at Ketkai. First, he was 2 of 2 in CDO-MisOr's 19-13 thrashing of the Davao All Stars in the 5th Mindanao Goodwill Match on June 28. Then, he placed third (P10,000) in the Memorial Cup's individual rapid (June 29) and played board one for GMC's P70,000 take-home in the team event," summed up arbiter Lorenzo "Jun" Cuizon.
Team Larry Dumadag (NM David Elorta, Cecil Cuevas, Eduardo Tare II), Philippine Army (Alfredo Rapanot, Antonio Chavez Jr., Eltiur Fretz Balacy) and Bacolod Black and White Pieces (IM Joel Pimentel Jr., Marvin Ting, Remegio Ditchon Jr.) shared third to 5th places with similar 11 match points.
While Quantum Zero (NM Raymond Salcedo, Allan Cantonjos, Jake Riddick Sabordo), Municipality of Talakag (NM Rustum Tolentino, Bryan Jose, Roland Sajetarios) and Team Ahuvati (GM Darwin Laylo, Junaico Segismar, Gerry Millan) occupied sixth to eight spots with similar 10 points.
NM Elorta and company of Team Larry Dumadag went home P45,000-richer, while the Philippine Army--anchored by Cagayan de Oro boys Rapanot and Chavez--bravely fought their way to victory in the final round against MD Chess of blitz expert Ellan Asuela to receive P30,000.
Bacolod Team of IM Pimentel settled for P20,000.
Air Force man Lennon Hart Salgados, the other Kagay-anon aside from Balquin who made the top-10 circle in the individual rapid chess, was undefeated in his first six matches on board 2. But with his teammates floundering on the other boards, Salgados' Team Kier miserably failed in its quest for the top team honors.
And so individual Rapid champion Grandmaster Rogelio Antonio Jr. and Mindanao's top player International Master Oliver Dimakiling, whose Team Orbe I and Team Vice Strada also crashed outside the top-20 list.
This, even that the Grandmaster candidate Dimakiling delivered a perfect 7 of 7 performance on board one.
"That's the beauty of the team tourney with average rating of 2100 kay makaapil ang mga GMs ug IMs pero apiki gyod ilang teams tungod sa kataas sa ilang own ratings hinay ilang kauban. Kon ipa-low pa gyod nato ang average rating ma-celebrity na pud ang mga (bogarts)," said NM Tolentino, referring to the many untitled players around the country with credible strength on the top boards.
Completing the top-15 team finishers are FLM Team (NM Joey Albert Florendo, Norman Longjas, Jones Maghuyop), MEGU Team (NM Edsel Montoya, Jethro Esplanada, Noel Rey Gullan), AIMCOOP (Cyril Ortega, Roumundo Jaime Alexis Edades Jr., Wilhelm Joey Ardiente), MD 1 Chess (IM Richelieu Salcedo III, Silverio Abasolo, Wil Maghanoy), Team United A (Vince Angelo Medina, Neptali Batucan III, Gabriel Libre) and Guevarra Law (Jimmy Dano, Jimzon Trangia, Atty. Jose Dionisio "Jong" Guevarra).