Top chessers collide in Malolos tiff

The country’s top wood pushers headed by defending champion International Master Daniel Quizon, Grandmasters John Paul Gomez, Darwin Laylo and Joey Antonio battle it out for glory in the Philippine National Chess Championship at the Malolos City Auditorium.

Host Malolos City Mayor Atty. Christian Natividad ushered in the nine-round tournament Wednesday, Feb. 1, along with Asia’s first GM Eugene Torre, National Chess Federation of the Philippines chairman-president Butch Pichay and tournament director GM Jayson Gonzales and chief arbiter Reden Cruz.

The 19-year-old Quizon was battling Dasmarinas teammate Mark Jay Bacojo in the opening round at press time and the former hopes to retain the crown he won in the last staging two years ago in Lapu Lapu, Cebu.

Gomez and Laylo, who were part of the national team that saw action in the Chennai World Chess Olympiad last year, were battling IM Michael Concio, Jr. and Woman GM Janelle Mae Frayna at press time, respectively.

Antonio, a many-time national champion, for his part, was tackling Olympiad regular Paulo Bersamina

Also seeing action in this event backed by Philippine Sports Commission chair Richard Bachmann and Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham Tolentino and staking a total cash purse worth P322,000 including P100,000 to the winner are reigning women’s champion WIM Antoinette Mae San Diego, IM Jan Emmanuel Garcia.

After the opening round, two rounds will be played each today and tomorrow, and takes a break on Saturday and resumes with two games each on Sunday and Monday.

Also being staked are P80,000 to the second placer and P50,000, P30,000 and P20,000 to the third to fifth placers.

The rest will receive P15,000, P10,000, P7,000, P5,000 and P5,000, respectively.