By Joey Villar

DANIEL Quizon realized his dream of becoming a national champion after he virtually crowned himself winner of the 2021 Philippine National Chess Championship at the Solea Hotel and Resort in Mactan, Cebu on Tuesday.

Mr. Quizon, 17, needed to just draw with fellow International Master Jem Garcia in 31 moves of a King’s Indian Attack in the 10th and penultimate round to make his dream come true.

The World Cup veteran was playing International Master (IM) Ronald Dableo in the final round at press time but with eight points and a two-point lead over the latter, Grandmaster (GM) Darwin Laylo and IM Ricky de Guzman, the former had already secured his place in the country’s elite group of national champions.

And thanks to his feat, Mr. Quizon will take home P80,000 a place in next year’s Hanoi Southeast Asian Games and the 2023 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Bangkok and Chonburi, Thailand.

It was an impressive performance for Mr. Quizon, who opened the 12-player tournament by winning his first six games including triumphs over the event’s only two GMs — Mr. Laylo and Joey Antonio — and was never really threatened much from there.

Next step for Mr. Quizon is the Grandmaster title.

“Pangarap ko po ang maging GM (I dream of becoming a GM),” said Mr. Quizon.

Mr. Laylo drew with top seed IM Paulo Bersamina in 25 moves of a Petroff Defense while Mr. De Guzman fought Woman GM Janelle Mae Frayna to a 66-move draw of a London System.

IM John Marvin Miciano posted the only win of the round over Mr. Dableo in 39 moves of a Reti Opening to jump to a share of No. 5 with Mr. Garcia with 5.5 points each.

In the other results, IM Joel Pimentel drew with IM Michael Concio, Jr. in 30 moves of a Petroff and GM Joey Antonio settling for a 30-move standoff with Allan Pason of a Caro-kann Defense.

The event was being supported by Barkadahan Para sa Bansa partylist, Philippine Sports Commission, CCLEX, Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC), Alin Cargo, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, POC President Bambol Tolentino, Chess Movement, Inc., chair Dr. Ariel Potot, RiChess Masters, and Atty. Roel Canobas.