Thursday, April 2, 2009


By Roy Luarca
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 03:51:00 04/01/2009

Final standings:
MEN: 18.0—W. So; 14.0—R. Antonio; 13.0—E. Torre; 12.0—M. Paragua, J. Gomez; 11.5—D. Laylo; 11.0—J. Sadorra, R. Bitoon; 9.0—R. Nolte; 8.0—J. Gonzales; 6.5—B. Villamayor; 6.0—R. Dableo

WOMEN: 17.0—Shercila Cua; 16.5—B. Mendoza; 15.0—Sherily Cua; 14.0—J. Fronda, C. Bernales; 12.0—D. Rivera; 11.0—L. Cuison; 9.0—K. Cunanan; 8.0—C. Perena; 5.0—J. Docena; 4.0—R. Young

DAPITAN CITY—A big gap exists between Wesley So and the rest of the field in the Battle of Grandmasters here.

Already beyond reach, So capped his successful title-retention campaign with a victory over fellow GM Darwin Laylo in the 11th and final round Tuesday night at the Dapitan City Resort Hotel.

His seventh win against four draws gave So a runaway total of 18 points, four up on second placer GM Rogelio “Joey” Antonio, who drew with GM Eugene Torre after 31 moves of a Bogo Indian.

So, an incoming high school senior at St. Francis-Cavite, led from start to finish to win the P200,000 champion’s purse.

Starting hot, So hurdled GM Buenaventura Villamayor, GM John Paul Gomez, Torre, IM Rolando Nolte and GM Jayson Gonzales before being held to a draw by Antonio in the sixth round.

The 15-year-old So, Group C champion of this year’s Corus Chess Tournament in the Netherlands, then coasted along with successive draws against GM Mark Paragua, IM Julio Catalino Sadorra and IM Richard Bitoon.

Antonio bagged the runner-up purse of P100,000, with Torre pocketing P80,000 for finishing third with 13 points.

Other final-round matches saw Paragua subdue Sadorra in 41 moves of a French Defense and Gomez and Nolte agreeing to a truce after 37 of a Sicilian.

With 12 points each, Paragua and Gomez tied for fourth and won P50,000 each in the tournament organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines and supported by Phoenix Petroleum and the Dapitan City council through Mayor Dominador Jalosjos Jr.

In women’s play, FIDE Master Shercila Cua pounced on an endgame blunder by WNM Rulp Ylem Jose to prevail in 79 moves of an English Opening to snatch the title from WIM Beverly Mendoza, who temporarily held the reign when she bested WNM Jedara Docena in 28 moves of a Vienna Opening.

Shercila, an economics graduate from University of Santo Tomas, won P60,000.

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