Quizon secures Philippine chess crown, joins Garcia in Olympiad

Quizon secures Philippine chess crown, joins Garcia in Olympiad

THE PHILIPPINE chess king has returned to his old place.

And it was completed yesterday after Daniel Quizon bested Grandmaster John Paul Gomez with a masterful, sacrifice-laced win in the 13th and final round on Sunday in the Philippine National Chess Championship at the Marikina Community Convention Center.

A knight sacrifice helped the 19-year-old International Master carve and open up Mr. Gomez’s weak kingside position that essayed a 32-move victory off a King’s Indian showdown.

It capped a brilliant tournament presented by Marikina City Mayor Marcy Teodoro and Congresswoman Maan Teodoro that saw Mr. Quizon scoring 9.5 points and securing the national crown for the second time since assuming the throne three years ago in Lapu Lapu, Cebu.

It also snared Mr. Quizon the cool champion’s purse worth P120,000 and, most important of all, a place in the Grandmaster (GM) Eugene Torre-coached national team going into battle in this September’s FIDE World Chess Olympiad in Budapest, Hungary where he has a chance to claim a GM title. “Hopefully, I could make my country proud in the Olympiad,” said Mr. Quizon.

International Master (IM) Jem Garcia drew with 14-year-old wunderkind, FIDE Master Christian Gian Karlo Arca, in 30 moves of another English duel and seized second place, P70,000 and an Olympiad spot.

Woman GM Janelle Mae Frayna, wearing her Army battle uniform, took third with 8.5 points after she won two pawns early from Samson Lim III on her way to a 33-move victory in yet another English encounter.

And she could have even won it all had she not blown a winning position and lost to GM Joey Antonio in the penultimate round Saturday night.

But Ms. Frayna, nonetheless, made heads turn as she not only pocketed P50,000 but also claimed an Olympiad berth and the first female to earn a seat to the men’s team seeing action in the biennial meet.

Assuming, of course, she decides to play for the women’s team, where she has been its Olympiad spearhead for so long now, instead.

“I haven’t made up my mind yet,” said the Bicolana superwoman.

If Ms. Frayna gives up her slot, it could go to either Mr. Gomez or IM Pau Bersamina, who wound up joint fourth with eight points each.

Vince Angelo Medina, at press time, was battling WIM Marie Antoinette San Diego, and a win could propel him to a share of No. 4. — Joey Villar