EDGAR Reggie Olay of Kidapawan City finished strong in the 6th Prospero Pichay Cup international chess tournament which ended Thursday night at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium in Manila, crushing Filipino GM Jayson Gonzales and earning his second IM norm.

The 34-year-old Olay, playing with the white pieces, downed Gonzales after 32 moves to finish with 5.5 points on four wins, three draws and two defeats in the nine-round event won by GM Anton Filippov of Uzbekistan.

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Atty. Dan Calica, Olay's chief backer in his campaign, relayed the news to Sun.Star Davao Thursday night. He said he was extremely happy with the player's performance.

"We are glad that Reggie excelled in this international tournament, earning not only his second IM norm but also carrying the banner for Filipino woodpushers," Calica said. "Reggie has worked doubly hard for this and we hope he will get his third and final IM norm in the near future."

Olay, a rising chess star in the 90s until a vehicular accident stalled his career, actually finished 8th and was the third-best Filipino behind GM John Paul Gomez and GM Darwin Laylo. Gomez placed fourth and Laylo sixth.

All in all, Olay had played three grandmasters in the field, winning one, drawing once and losing the other.

What made Olay's excellent finish doubly rewarding was that he achieved it on the birthday of his daughter Jeanne Reese Marie, who turned 2 years old Thursday.

Olay will next see action in the first Fide president Florencio Campomanes Memorial chess tournament which opens Saturday.

Calica said if ever Olay comes up with a good showing again he might get his third IM norm and become a full-pledged IM, an accomplishment what will be a big boost to Mindanao chess.