International Master Ronald Dableo and Far Eastern University standout John Merill Jacutina topped the rapid and blitz divisions over the weekend in Passi, Iloilo to lead the match of a group of woodpushers to the grand finals of the Southeast Asian Games qualifying tournament next month.
Dableo, who is actually a grandmaster but has to reach the 2500-rating plateau to achieve the status, drew with IM John Marvin Miciano in the seventh and final round to clinch the rapid crown with six points.
The 18-year-old Jacutina, top board player of UAAP reigning champion FEU, for his part, split the point with FIDE Master Mari Joseph Turqueza and then edged the latter via Buccholz tiebreak, 32-30.5, to crown himself blitz champion.
Dableo, who is University of Santo Tomas coach, qualified in the rapid event alongside top 10 finishers Rolando Andador, FM Nelson Mariano III, Jerad Docena, Dennis Bernas, FM Narquinden Reyes, Miciano, Fiona Geeweneth Guirhem, Turqueza and Ernie Abanco.
IMs Haridas Pascua and Oliver Dimakiling were seeded outright in the rapid finale.
In the blitz, Turqueza, Jose Aquino, Jr., Mariano, IM Ronald Bancod, Docena, Reyes, Fritz Bryan Porras, Cyril Felrod Telesforo and Abanco joined Jacutina in the finale.
WIMs Bernadette Galas, Catherine Secopito and Marie Antoinette San Diego, meanwhile, will joint the top 13 women’s qualifiers in both rapid and blitz in the finals.
The grand finals, slated July 11-15 at the Alphaland in Makati City, will stake two rapid and two blitz slots in the national team seeing action in the 30th SEAG set Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 in the Philippines. (Kristel Satumbaga)