Friday, February 27, 2015


by Marlon Bernardino

Final Standings:

8.5 points---NM Nelson Villanueva (Philippines)
8.0 points---Zulkifli Muhd Syazwan (Malaysia)
7.5 points---NM Carlo Lorena (Philippines), Michael Angelo Palma (Philippines) 
7.0 points---Nik Nik Ahmad Farouqi (Malaysia), Erowan Masrin (Malaysia), NM Stewart Manaog (Philippines), IM Mas Hafizulhelmi (Malaysia), WFM Camilia Johari (Malaysia), Wan Yusoff Wan Mohd Adli (Malaysia)

FIDE MASTER (FM) Nelson Villanueva once again is at the top of his game after winning the Zadano Kelantan Open Chess Championship 2015 last February 20 to 21 in Kota Bharu, Malaysia.

The native Bacolod City Villanueva who is best to remember spearheading the multi-titled Rizal Technological University (RTU) Mandaluyong chess team in a numerous National Capital Region-State Colleges and Universities Athletic Association (NCR-SCUAA) chess title during his college days, actually was undefeated in this Nine Round Swiss-system World Chess Federation (FIDE) sanctioned rapid tournament with eight wins a draw in nine outings to received the top prize of RM 2,000 (Malaysian Ringgit).

Among his crucial wins that includes Abdul Jamil Nurul Aisyah (Round 1), Rokeman Nur Syahirah (Round 2), Jusoh Mohd Bakri (Round 3), Mohd Syaahil Hamid (Round 4) and Zulkifli Muhd Syazwan of Malaysia (Round 5), countryman NM Carlo Lorena (Round 6) and Nik Nik Ahmad Farouqi (Round 7) and Nik Hasan Nik Mohd Nazri of Malaysia (Round 9). Compatriot Michael Angelo Palma salvaged a draw with Villanueva in the eight and penultimate round.

The win boosted Villanueva's morale as he prepares to compete in the 15th Bangkok Chess Club Open on April 12 to 19 at the Dusit Thani Pattaya Hotel in Pattaya, Thailand.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Paragua, Ondangan, Sevilla, Nouri shines in US chess tourneys

by Marlon Bernardino

Filipino chessers were recently named as most outstanding players in separate tournaments in the United States.

Grandmaster Mark Paragua won its fifth chess title in the Big Apple. He finished tie for first with GM Michael Rohde after tallying 3.5 points apiece last January 25. He beat Joseph Zeltsan, Edward Kopiecki and Jay Richard Bonin and drew with Rohde in the final round. The Bulacan based Paragua also won last January 8, 16, 22 and 24 in New York City.

Meanwhile, United States Master Ruben Ondangan and Fernando Sevilla shared the top honors with 3.5 points each in the Antelope Valley 1st Winter Open Chess Tournament last January 25 in Palmdale, California.

His daughter Julia Sevilla together with Alekhine Nouri settled for second and third placers with 4.5 points in the Dreaming King Open Chess Tournament last January 17 to 19 in San Diego Chess Club, San Diego, California. Jeffrey Chou took the crown with perfect 5 points.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


by Marlon Bernardino

THAILAND---Filipino Grandmaster Wesley Barbasa So is the Millionaire Chess Open Champion.

He pocket the $100,000 grand prize. He won it over fellow Webster University teammate American GM Ray Robson, 1.5-0.5, in the final match and clinched the championship tiara at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada on Tuesday (Monday night US Time). Robson, on the other hand went home runner-up purse of $50,000.

The $1000,000 ($1-million) grand prize was the biggest ever in the history of chess tournament.

On the road to the finals, So (2755), the tournament's top seed, edged GM Zhou Jianchao (2580) of China, 2-0, in the first tiebreak consisting of two games at 15 minutes per player. Earlier, So and Zhou drew both rapid games at 25 minutes per player to force into a tiebreaker.

Robson (2628) of the USA, meantime shocked GM Yu Yangyi (2697) of China, 1.5-0.5, in their rapid semifinal knockout match and got to the final first.

The 21-year-old Bacoor, Cavite native So now has a live rating of 2762, a personal best, after gaining 7.0 rating points from 5 wins and 2 draws in the Swiss system elimination round. He surpassed former world champion GM Vladimir Kramnik of Russia, who has a 2760 rating. With his magnificent performance put him top 10 in the world.

Prior Millionaire Chess Open in Las Vegas, So settled second place behind GM Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine last June in the Edmonton International tournament in Alberta, Canada. He topped the prestigious Capablanca Memorial Tournament in Havana, Cuba last May and won the ACP Golden Classic last July in Bergamo, Italy.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Villanueva wins Malaysia chess

by Marlon Bernardino

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia---National Master (NM) Nelson Villanueva reinforced his position as one of the Philippines’ top chess players when he won the POLISAS Classical Open Chess Championship last September 6 to 9 in Polisas, Malaysia.

Villanueva, who hails from La Carlota City, Negros Occidental  defeated Malaysian Mohd Kamal Abdullah in the final round to score 6.5 points in seven outings and captured the coveted title. 

The former Rizal Technological University (RTU) Mandaluyong mainstay prevailed after 33 moves of Caro-Kann defense using the disadvantageous black pieces.

With the victory, Villanueva's performance boosted the nation's morale and he schedule to play in the 24th annual North American Open Chess Champion on December 26 to 29 at the at Bally's Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.

National Master (NM) Efren Bagamasbad, on the other hand won the overall second place with a superior tiebreak points in the huge group of 5.5 pointers that includes Fairul Yusoff, Kamalarifin Wahiduddin, Muhd Syazwan Zulkifli, Mohd Khair Wahiduddin and Wan Ali Wan Manan of Malaysia.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Phl women's team beats ICCD in World Chess Olympiad

by Marlon Bernardino

Philippines women's team continued their winning ways as it toppled International Chess Committee of the Deaf (ICCD), 3.5-0.5, in the second round of the 41st World Chess Olympiad late Sunday in Tromso, Norway.

Woman International Master (WIM) Chardine Cheradee Camacho (ELO 2214) outclassed  WIM Tatiana Baklanova (ELO 2229) on Board 1 to power Phl women's team to victory.

In other matches saw, Woman FIDE Master (WFM) Janelle Mae Frayna (ELO 2205) subdued WCM Annegret Mucha (ELO 2008) on Board 2 while Woman National Master (WNM) Jan Jodilyn Fronda (ELO 2098) nipped Natalya Myronenko (ELO 1942) on Board 3. WIM Olga Gerasimova (ELO 2045) halved the point with WIM Catherine Perena (ELO 2165) on Board 4 to saved ICCD in a possible shut-out loss.

The No. 43 Philippines women's team will meet No.8 Poland in Monday's third round. Poland is coming from a 2.5-1.5 win against No.27 Czech Republic.

Against Poland, Camacho will face GM  Monika Socko (ELO 2470), Frayna opposite WGM Jolanta Zawadzka (ELO 2398), Fronda versus WGM Karina Szczepkowska-Horowska (ELO 2380) and Perena goes up against WGM Marta Bartel (ELO 2359).

Meanwhile, Fide Master (FM) Paulo Bersamina (ELO 2363) defeated FM Dejan Marjanovic (ELO 2373) on Board 4 to power No. 52 Phl men's team into a 2-2 stand off against No.42 Bosnia & Herzegovina after his teammates, Grandmasters (GMs) Julio Catalino Sadorra (ELO 2590) and Eugene Torre (ELO 2438), drew with their respective rivals. However, GM John Paul Gomez (ELO 2526) bowed to GM Dalibor Stojanovic (ELO 2503) on Board 2.

Phl men's team will meet No.2 Ukraine in the next round who drew with No.58 Norway 2.

Against Ukraine, Sadorra, Gomez, Torre and Bersamina will face all GMs squad Vassily Ivanchuk (ELO 2744), Ruslan Ponomariov (ELO 2717), Anton Korobov (ELO 2680) and Alexander Moiseenko (ELO 2707), respectively.

Philippine chess team off to a good start

by Marlon Bernardino

The Philippine men's and women's chess teams won their respective matches at the start of 41st World Chess Olympiad late Saturday in Tromso, Norway.

The 52nd seed Philippine men's team blasted No. 138 Afghanistan,3.5-0.5, while the No. 43 Philippines women's team subdued No.110 Palau, 4-0.

GM Julio Catalino Sadorra (ELO 2590) defeated FM Mahbuboollah Kooshani (ELO 2036) after 32 moves of Neo-Catalan on Board 1, GM John Paul Gomez crushed FM Zaheeruddeen Asefi (ELO 1996) after 49 moves of Old Benoni defense on Board 2 while Asia's First GM Eugene Torre (ELO 2438) won by default over Hamidullah Sarwary (ELO 1920) on Board 3 after the latter's failed to made his appearance in the opening round. The 62-year-old Torre, dubbed as  the ‘Living Legend’ of Philippine  chess, made a  record 22nd  appearance in the  world’s biggest chess stage.

Little-known Zabiullah Ahmadi (ELO 2031) prevent his team in a possible shut-out loss after forcing FM Paulo Bersamina (ELO 2363) into a fighting draw after 82 moves of Caro-Kann defense on Board 4.

In the distaff side, Woman International Master (WIM) Chardine Cheradee Camacho (ELO 2214) crushed Angelica Parrado (ELO 1628) after 36 moves of french defense, Woman FIDE Master (WFM) Janelle Mae Frayna (ELO 2205) outclassed Baby Edna Mission (ELO 1546) after 13 moves of pirc defense, Woman National Master (WNM) Jan Jodilyn Fronda (ELO 2098) won by default against Gladys Anne Paloma (ELO 1472) and WIM Catherine Perena (ELO 2165 ) routed  Destiny Sisor (ELO 1536) after 28 moves of Queens Gambit Declined, in order.

In late Sunday's second round, Philippine men's team goes up against No.42 Bosnia & Herzegovina while the women's team will meet No.55  International Chess Committee of the Deaf (ICCD).

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Salimbagat, Castro shine in US chess

by Marlon Bernardino

New York---Fide Master Rico Salimbagat, who hails from Tanauan, Batangas who is now based in Queens, New York, emerged champion in the recently-concluded 13th Annual Manhattan Open Chess Tournament Under 2300 section last July 25 to 27, 2014 here at at the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel.

Salimbagat, who works as a maintenance engineer at the Warwick International Hotel here in New York finished with undefeated five wins in the 5-round Swiss System format competition to pocket the champion's prize of 1,400 USD.

Salimbagat, with an USCF rating 2280, bested Jackson Hueckel, Edgar Cimafranca, Isaac Barayev, James Fu and Fide Master Jon Jacobs, respectively.

Former Olympian International Master Renato Naranja from New Jersey finished with three points, a good for a tie for 13th to 31st place.

Meanwhile, World Chess Federation (FIDE) Developmental Instructor Dari Castro wound up a tie for first place with Brett H Schneider in the Under 1400 section. The duo tallied perfect five points apiece and each received 550 USD for their effort.

Castro who is currently based here in New Jersey from Tondo, Manila and liason officer of the Eugene Torre Chess Foundation defeated Daniel Fridlyand, James E Thierer, Rio Arengo, Max and Simon Gorbaty, in order.

Another Filipino entry Jose dela Cruz of Queens, New York finished 3.5 points in the Under 1700 section. A native of Burauen, Leyte and founder of the newly-formed Philippine Institute for Chess Excellence (PICE), dela cruz received 125 USD for finishing second place in the Under 1550 category.

In the Open section, GM Alexander Stripunsky scored 4.5 points in five outings to went home the first prize of 1,700 USD.

GM Sergei Azarov and GM Sergey Kudrin shared 2nd to 3rd place with four points each for 600 USD.

GM Mark Paragua led the group of 3.5 pointers that includes GM Mikheil Kekelidze, IM Aleksandr Ostrovskiy, GM Michael A Rohde, IM Jay Richard Bonin
and Jason Shi.

GM Oliver Barbosa, meantime finished overall 10th place with three points. Other 3-pointers are IM Lev Milman, FM Arthur Shen, Matan Prilleltensky
and Janak Awatramani.

United States Chess Federation (USCF) master Jose "Jojo" Aquino Jr., head coach of National University (NU) from Antipolo City finished overall 17th place with 2.5 points.