By U.S. News Agency / Asian

La Salle-Manila emerged as the overall champion in the 2010 National Inter-Cities and Municipalities rapid chess team championship at the People’s Astrodome here Sunday.

Joel Pimentel and Jimsoon Bitoon provided the much-needed victories in the final three rounds to help La Salle-Manila finish with a nine-round total of 16 points on seven wins and two draws in the prestigious, two-day competition organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) in cooperation with the Dagupan City government.

The win was worth P70,000 for La Salle-Manila.
Metro Manila Development Authority-Makati, led by GM Wesley So, and Don Galo-Paranaque City, bannered by David Elorta, shared second to third places with 14 points.

Calamba-GPTex Global-A and Roxas-Palawan tied for fourth to fifth places with 13 points.

Pimentel outduelled Mari Joseph Turqueza and Bitoon humbled Jayson Mercado in La Salle-Manila’s 2.5-1.5 upset win over Local Water Utilities Administration-Quezon City-A. in the ninth and final round.

Pimentel and Bitoon also saved the day in La Salle-Manila’s 2-2 draw with Calamba-GPTEx Global-B in the eighth round when they won over Peter and Samson Lim, respecitvely.

The smashing showings by Pimentel and Bitoon made up for Rolando Andador’s back-to-back setbacks to IM Ronald Dableo in the eighth round and GM Darwin Laylo in the final round.

Andador had earlier won over IM Chito Garma as La Salle-Manila whipped Roxas-Palawan, 3.5-.5, in the seventh round.

So, who agreed to play in the two-day tournament upon the invitation of MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino, led MMDA-Makati to 2.5-1.5 win over Antipolo City in the seventh round and 3.5-.5 triumph over Roxas-Palawan in the eighth round.

The 17-year-old So won over IM Oliver Barbosa and IM Chito Garma before drawing with NM Manny Senador of Calamba-GPTex Global-B in the final round.

Overall, So finished with seven wins and two draws, slightly behind Dableo’s 8/9 record.

Don Galo-Paranaque whipped Samal-Bataan, 3-1; Maritime Chess Club-Lanao, 2.5-1.5; and Calamba-GPTex Global-B, 2.5-1.5, to join MMDA-Makati in second to third places.

Elorta outplayed IM Ronald Bancod of Samal-Bataan and Roger Sarip of Lanao to lead Paranaque’s surprise finish in the tough, 43-team tournament.

Erstwhile front-runner Roxas-Palawan humbled Binalonan-Pangasinan, 3-1, on victories by Ryan Dungca, Sherwin Tiu and Verth Alora to catch Calamba-A in fourth to fifth places.

Garma, the top board player of Roxas-Palawan, lost his last three assignments to Andador, So and FM Roderick Nava.

In solo sixth place is the GM John Paul Gomez-led Muntinlupa, which won over Angeles City, 3-1; Ricnor Farms-Palayan City, 2.5-1.5; and Maritima-Lanao, 3.5-.5, to finish with 12 points on 5-2-2 win-draw-loss record.

Seven teams – Antipolo City, LWUA-QC A, Apocalypse Manila, Ozamis City, Binalonan-Pangasinan, JSB Marketing-Urdaneta City and Calamba-B – shared seventh to 13th places with 11 points.

Antipolo downed Samal-Bataan, 3.5-.5; Apocalypse Manila edged Naga City, 2.5-1.5; Ozamis City beat La Union, 2.5-1.5; and JSB-Urdaneta toppled Far Eastern University-Manila, 2.5-1.5; to barge into the Top 10.

The individual board medalists were Dableo (Calamba-B) and Bonifacio Natavio (Dagupan) 8/9 in Board 1; Rainier Labay (DepEd-Pasig) 6/8 in Board 2; Jimsoon Bitoon (La Salle-Manila) and Ivan Gil Biag (Apocalypse Manila) 8/9 in Board 3; Generoseo Salmorin (Ozamis City), Arnel Penero (Samal-Bataan) and Sonny de la Rosa (Antipolo City) 7/9 in Board 4; and Rosaldo Salvador (Ozamis City) 5/6 in Board 5.

Renato Abalos served as the tournament director, with Lito Abril and Ilann Perez as the supervising arbiters.