LA CARLOTA City, Negros Occidental-native Fide Master (FM) Nelson Villanueva, a former Rizal Technological University (RTU) Barangay Malamig, Mandaluyong City standout, ruled the just-concluded 9th HDBank Cup International Chess Tournament 2019 held at the Rex Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam last Wednesday.
Villanueva collected 7.5 points on six wins and three draws in nine outings, the same output of Pham Minh Hieu of Vietnam, however Villanueva took first place by virtue of superior tiebreak points.
Villanueva brought home an elegant trophy and the $1,000 cash prize in the nine-round Challengers section tournament which attracted 148 players. Pham, on the other hand who also scored 7.5 points took home $1,000 cash prize and an elegant runner-up trophy.
“Again I would like to dedicate my victory to my countrymen. It’s an honor to represent our country,” said Villanueva who also won three International tournament in Malaysia this year.
With the victory, Villanueva’s performance boosted the nation’s morale, said International Billiards/Snooker champion Marlon “Marvelous” Manalo, who is also the chairman of Barangay Malamig in Mandaluyong City. “Once again our flag has been raised in this foreign land after knowing that our Filipino kababayan Nelson Villanueva won the 9th HDBank Cup International Chess Tournament 2019 held at the Rex Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam last Wednesday,” he said.
Villanueva scored victories over Arena International Master (AIM) Aayush Bhattacherjee of India in the first round, Pham Phu Quang of Vietnam in the second round, Dang Anh Minh of Vietnam in the third round, Woman Fide Master (WFM ) Yanjinlkham Bayarsaikhan of Mongolia in the fourth round, Doan Thi Hong Nhung of Vietnam in the sixth round and Woman Fide Master Doan Thi Van Anh of Vietnam in the eight and penultimate round.
He split the point with countryman Recarte Tiauson in the fifth round, Pham Minh Hieu of Vietnam in the seventh round and Pham Thi Thu Hien of Vietnam in the ninth and final round.
Michael Concio Jr. placed eight overall with 6.5 points on four wins and five draws while another Filipino bet Woman International Master (WIM) Kylen Joy Mordido, ended in 18th place with 6.0 points on six wins and three loses. Concio and Mordido, both top players of Dasmariñas Chess Academy put up by Dasmariñas mayor Elpidio “Pidi” Barzaga Jr. and national coach International Master (IM) Roel Abelgas.
The other Filipino entries were Recarte Tiauson, Woman Fide Master Antonella Berthe Murillo Racasa, Gabriel John Umayan, Jerlyn Mae San Diego, Samantha Babol Umayan and Arena Grandmaster (AGM) Io Aristotle Nikolai Calica.
Participating countries and regions in the 9th HDBank Cup International Chess Tournament 2019 Challenger’s section were Mongolia, India, Australia, USA, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Hongkong, Vietnam and the Philippines. — Marlon Bernardino