International Master Paulo Bersamina turned back National Master Julius Sinangote in 49 moves of a Sicilian defense in the 15th and final round to clinch the title in the 2019 GM Rosendo Balinas Jr. Memorial Cup chess championship Grand Finals at the Activity Hall (2nd floor) of Alphaland Makati Place in Malugay Street, Makati City on Tuesday.
Bersamina, who held the solo lead in the 14th round, finished the Fide-rated standard-time control tournament with 12 points overall to run away with the title and the P50,000 top purse in the event organized by Balinas siblings Engr. Antonio and Joe Balinas in cooperation with National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) director Atty. Cliburn Anthony Orbe and Philippine Executive Chess Association president Dr. Jenny Mayor.
GM Darwin Laylo finished second with 11.5 points, while 13-time Philippine Open champion GM Rogelio Antonio Jr. settled for solo third with 11 points.
Meanwhile, untitled Rolly Parondo Jr. shared the spotlight as he became the country’s newest National Master following an impressive performance, finishing fourth overall with 8.5 points.
Parondo, a native of Oton, Iloilo, scored fighting draws against GMs Laylo, Antonio and John Paul Gomez, beat IMs Chris Ramayrat and Angelo Young on his way to a fourth place finish.
NCFP Deputy Secretary-General and Executive Director Red Dumuk led the closing rites alongside Atty. Orbe, Dr. Mayor, Engr. Antonio “Tony” Carreon Balinas, GM Balinas’ daughter Nur Rose Balinas and granddaughter KC Balinas and Angie Balinas-Padilla.
Nur Rose, GM Balinas’ only child, flew all the way from Singapore to attend the closing ceremony in the tournament held in honor of his father, who became the country’s second GM after Eugene Torre.
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