GRANDMASTER Darwin Laylo finally asserted his mastery by ruling the fourth leg of 2020 Cesar Orbe Memorial Chess 960 online series last Wednesday (April 15).
Laylo, a member of the Philippine team to the 44th World Chess Olympiad in Moscow, Russia, finished with nine points with seven wins and four draws in the 11-round tournament organized by National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) executive director Atty. Cliburn Anthony Orbe in honor of his father.
The 39-year-old Laylo, who earned his GM title in Cebu City in 2007, finished half a point ahead of FM Alekhine Nouri.
Nouri, who became the country's youngest FM at age seven, rebounded from a first-round setback to IM John Marvin Miciano to clinch second place with 8.5 points.
Two-time winner GM Rogelio Antonio Jr. finished in a tie with IM Daniel Quizon with eight points, but took third place on tiebreak.
"I'm very happy to win the fourth edition of the Orbe Memorial," said Laylo, who is expecting his first child this June.
Laylo said his 10th-round victory over Quizon was the turning point.of the tournament. Laylo had 7.5/9 while Quizon had 7/9 when they faced off.
Laylo split the point with Antonio in the ninth round and Nouri in the 11th and final round.
It was the second championship in four months for the San Roque, Marikina City-based Laylo, who also topped the Hong Bao Open tournament 2020 in Singapore last Jan.25-27.
Overall, Antonio kept the series lead with 12 points, followed by Laylo and FM Sander Severino with eight points and Nouri and FM Arden Reyes with three points.
Chess 960 is originally called Fischer-Random, a variation of the game introduced by former world champion Bobby Fischer and popularized by Asia's first GM Eugene Torre.
The first world Fischer-Random world champion was Filipino-born GM Wesley So.
Supporting the online chess competition are the NCFP, headed by Chairman/President Rep. Prospero “Butch” Pichay Jr. and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), led by Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez.