By Kristel Satumbaga
United States-based GM Mark Paragua emerged victorious in the 1st Philippine Bullet Chess championship held online over the weekend.
The 36-year-old Paragua scored 25.5 points on 23 wins with five draws against two defeats to snare the champion’s purse amounting to P30,000 while reclaiming the title as the fastest Filipino chesser today.
It was an impressive effort for Paragua, who now lives in New York, as he had already won with two rounds to go.
Never mind that he drew his penultimate and 29th game and lost his final match to University of Santo Tomas standout Samson Chin Lim.
The recent feat capped what had been a spectacular week for Paragua as he also reigned supreme in the semifinals of this same tilt, 10th NBC Arena and SPEC and CA’s Life Arena.
Paragua said his next goal is to reclaim his place at the national team.
“It’s always an honor for me to represent the country,” said Paragua.
Paragua needed to fend off International Master Paulo Bersamina’s spirited bid to snatch the crown, leading by half a point after the 14th round.
But Paragua trounced Bersamina in the next two rounds and strung together a series of wins to pull away in the tournament bankrolled by National Chess Federation of the Philippines president Butch Pichay.
Bersamina wound up second with 19 points and P20,000 while Dasmariñas, Cavite-based Michael Concio and International Master Daniel Quizon were third and fourth with 20 and 18.5 points, respectively, to pocket P10,000 each.
All other grand finalists—FIDE Master Sander Severino, GM Banjo Barcenilla, IM Jan Emmanuel Garcia, IM Joel Pimentel, GM Joey Antonio, Chin Lim, Sherwin Tiu, Chester Neil Reyes, FM Alekhine Nouri, IM Oliver Dimakiling, Vince Angelo Medina and IM Chito Garma—received P5,000.