The Philippines National Chess Championship is a yearly event and starting 2009, sans 2008, was dubbed as the Battle of Grandmasters (BOGM). The previous four BOGM (2008, 2009, 2010 & 2011) were won consecutively by Philippines top GM Wesley So and in this year event, the 5th BOGM, was undoubtedly won by the resurging pride of Meycauayan-Marilao, Bulacan, Mark ‘Mac-Mac’ Paragua … “The Executioner” as depicted in Chess Piece by Bobby Ang of bworldonline.com.
This year event is not just about being declared as the National Champion and awarded the top prize of Php 150,000 but at the same time clinching one of the three slots allotted to the top 3 winners to represent the country in the forthcoming 40th World Chess Olympiad to be held in Istanbul, Turkey on August 27 to September 10, 2012 as member of the Philippine National Chess Team (Open/Men). GM Wesley So, the Philippines top player, who is currently processing his U.S. Student Visa for a chess scholarship at Webster University, St. Louis, Missouri and also at the same time campaigning in Canada was already guaranteed the top Olympiad slot. The fifth player, will be picked by National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP).
GM Paragua in route to his first ever National Chess Championship trophy, initially, had a rough sailing on the white beaches of Boracay on the 1st half of the tourney where he incurred his only two losses at the hands of IM Oliver Dimakiling in round 2 and another against GM Rogelio ‘Joey’ Antonio in round 6. But after that he was able to adjust on time and rotate his sailboat ‘boom’ and steered it’s ’tiller’ (steering wheel) towards the right direction and had a smooth sail winning the race, scoring 11.5/15 (10Wins-3Draws-2Losses) with a performance rating of 2627. His NCFP ‘Scoring System’* final score was 23 points, a +2.5 points ahead the second placer.
GM Julio Catalino Sadorra, the 14th Philippines International Grandmaster (2011) and a mainstay of University of Texas at Dallas chess team ( 2012 second placer in the US Final Four of Chess), proved his worth finishing solo at 2nd place scoring 10.0/15 (8Wins-4Draws-3Losses) and a 20.5 points NCFP score, to grab the second ticket to Istanbul 2012 Olympiad.
IM Oliver Dimakiling (9Wins-2Draws-4Losses) and Asia’s First GM Eugene Torre (6Wins-8Draws-1Loss) scored 10.0/15 each and also tied at 20.0 points NCFP score but Dimakiling was awarded the last of the 3 tickets for the 2012 Olympiad with a higher tiebreak points than Torre.
GM Darwin Laylo, who was still in contention after round 14 results lost his stride against GM John Paul Gomez in the final round finished 5th place with 9/15 ( 6Wins-6Draws-3Losses) and 18.5 points NCFP score.
FINAL STANDING (after 15-Rounds):
5th BOGM Final Standing after 15th Round (NCFP)