Teeners Quizon, Arca stay in title hunt in ‘Battle of Grandmasters’

Teeners Quizon, Arca stay in title hunt in ‘Battle of Grandmasters’

TEENAGE sensations Daniel Quizon and Christian Gian Karlo Arca delivered the worthiest performances of the day to stay in the title hunt in the Philippine National Chess Championships dubbed “The Battle of Grandmasters” at the Marikina Community Convention Center.

Mr. Quizon, a 19-year-old International Master (IM), brought down many-time national champion Grandmaster (GM) Joey Antonio to seize the joint lead with IM Jem Garcia, who dismantled Vince Angelo Medina, on pristine scores of two points.

Mr. Arca, a 14-year-old FIDE Master, for his part, bared his true fangs as he turned back battle-tested IM Barlo Nadera and leapfrogged to a five-way logjam at third with 1.5 points.

That chase group included Janelle Mae Frayna, the country’s first and only Woman GM who stunned nemesis GM Darwin Laylo in Wednesday’s opener and drew with FM Mark Jay Bacojo in the second.

Both Messrs. Quizon and Arca, who just last month captured the blitz gold in the World Youth Championship in Italy, are seeking to claim one of the three slots to the World Chess Olympiad slated from Sept. 10 to 23 in Budapest, Hungary.

Mr. Quizon played once in the Olympiad when it was still done online during the pandemic but never over-the-board in the biennial meet.

This one could be his first.

Part of that hungry chase pack of wolves were Mark Jay Bacojo, who split the point with Ms. Frayna, Jerish John Velarde, who trounced WIM Antoinette Marie San Diego, and GM John Paul Gomez, who bested Samson Chiu Chin Lim III.

Mr. Laylo came roaring back to title race from a stinging opening day setback with a smashing win over IM Paulo Bersamina.

Aside from Olympiad seats, the winner of this 14-player, 13-round meet presented by Marikina City Congresswoman Maan Teodoro and Mayor Marcy Teodoro and backed NCFP Chairman President Prospero Pichay, Jr., POC President Abraham Tolentino, Philippine Sports Commission Chair Richard Bachmann, the Eugene Torre Chess Foundation, Pande and Amerikana’s Jundio Salvador pockets the P120,000 top purse. — Joey Villar