MANILA—International Master (IM) Paulo Bersamina kicked off his campaign on Day 1 with a masterful win from his match against 13-time Philippine Open Champion Grandmaster (GM) Rogelio “Joey” Antonio Jr. in the 2021 Philippine National Chess Championship that was held at the Solea Hotel and Resort in Mactan, Cebu on Thursday.
Bersamina, one of the top players of Atty. Arnel Batungbakal’s Caloocan LoadManna Knights prevailed with the white pieces after 37 moves of Caro-Kann defense. “The first round is one of the toughest rounds in any tournament. It usually sets the tone of how you’re going to perform,” said the 23 years old Bersamina who is chasing for the coveted Grandmaster title. The last Filipino male chess player to attain the title is Richard Bitoon in 2011. “I hope to perform well in this event and gain some ElO rating points,” he added.
International Master Ricardo de Guzman, International Master Daniel Quizon and International Master Joel Pimentel also opened with wins. De Guzman, one of the prize fighter of Michael Angelo Ong Chua’s San Juan Predators defeated International Master Michael Concio Jr. after 63 moves of Trompovsky Opening, Quizon crushed International Master John Marvin Miciano after 72 moves of King’s Indian defense while Pimentel subdued Allan Pason after 50 moves of Reti Opening.
Country’s lone woman Grandmaster Janelle Mae Frayna split the point with International Master Jane Emmanuel Garcia after 34 moves of Slav defense and so did Grandmaster Darwin Laylo halving the point with International Master Ronald Dableo after 29 moves of another Slav defense.
The six-day event was being bankrolled by PSC chair Butch Ramirez, NCFP president Rep. Butch Pichay, POC president Rep. Bambol Tolentino, Chess Movement Chairman Dr. Ariel Potot, PCSO vice chair and general manager Royina Garma and Atty. Roel Canobas.
Aside from a slot to the AIMAG set in Bangkok and Chonburi, Thailand in 2023, a champion’s purse worth P80,000 plus P50,000 and P25,000 for the second and third places, respectively, will be up for grabs, according to NCFP CEO GM Jayson Gonzales./Marlon Bernardino
Photo credit to Paulo Bersamina fb account