Grandmaster Darwin Laylo drew with International Master Daniel Quizon in 34 moves of a Reti Opening in the ninth and final round Monday night, Feb 6, to essay his first victory in the National Chess Championship in 17 years at the Malolos City Hall Auditorium in Bulacan.
The 42-year-old Army man thus capped his impressive showing with 6.5 points on four wins and five draws to claim his first title conquest since ruling the annual meet in 2006 and third overall.
For his feat, the Olympiad veteran took home the top purse worth a cool P100,000 and a beautifully-carved trophy courtesy of host Malolos City Mayor Atty. Christian Natividad.
“It was a blessing to win again here after 17 years,” said Laylo, who thanked his family and Army Special Service Center Director Col. John Oliver Gabun.
IM Jan Emmanuel Garcia split the point with Woman Grandmaster Janelle Mae Frayna to wind up second with six points and a purse worth P80,000 while IM Michael Concio, Jr. halved the point with IM Paulo Bersamina to take third and P50,000 in the tournament backed by the Philippine Sports Commission, National Chess Federation of the Philippines and Philippine Olympic Committee.
Rounding out the top 10 were Bersamina, Frayna, Mark Jay Bacojo, Quizon, GM John Paul Gomez, GM Joey Antonio and WIM Marie Antoinette San Diego.
Laylo rode on a strong start wherein he scored five points in the first six rounds that he highlighted with wins over Frayna, San Diego, Bersamina and Antonio.
He never looked back from there.