Daniel Quizon downs Swedish foe in Pacquiao chess tourney

International Master Daniel Quizon brought down third seed Vitaly Sivuk of Sweden to move half a point off the pace after five rounds of the MCPL’s Manny Pacquiao International Open Chess Festival in General Santos City Thursday, Dec. 15.

IM Daniel Quizon jumps to a six-player logjam at third with four points after five rounds in the Manny Pacquiao International Open Chess Festival. (Photo from Daniel Quizon's Facebook page)

The 18-year-old Asian junior blitz king leaned on his mastery of the King’s Indian Defense to pull the rug from under the 30-year-old Sivuk in 41 moves and jump to a six-player logjam at third with four points.

Quizon, who is seeking the second of three norms required to become a Grandmaster, was battling top seed GM Hovhannes Gabuzyan of Armenia in the sixth round at press time with hopes of coming through with another giant-sized win.

Gabuzyan remained on top with 4.5 points alongside Dutch GM Lucas Van Foreest, whom the former split the point in this tournament staking P1.14 million to the champion courtesy of boxing icon Manny Pacquiao.

Quizon, for his part, was with the second group of four-pointers that also included fourth pick Pier Luigi Basso of Italy, IM John Daniel Bryant of the United States and Filipino IMs Kim Steven Yap and Ricky de Guzman.

Basso slammed IM Cris Ramayrat, Bryant downed Sherwin Tiu, Yap stunned GM Darwin Laylo, and De Guzman humbled GM John Paul Gomez.

In another group at No. 9 with 3.5 points were Russian-born FIDE-represented Konstantin Sek, IM Richilieu Salcedo, IM Michael Concio, Jr., FIDE Master Mari Joseph Turqueza, IM Eric Labog, Jr., Sheider Nebato and GM Joey Antonio.

Quizon said he gained the upper hand after he outsmarted Sivuk in a tactical duel in the middle game.

“Lumamang ako sa middle game,” said Quizon, a national champion and Southeast Asian Games bronze medalist.