But fund lack forces champ out of semis
MANILA, Philippines – David Elorta bested some of the country’s top masters as he topped the rapid event and finished fourth in the blitz division of the first Eugene Torre Cup-Southeast Asian Games Luzon leg qualifier at the Mapua Gym in Intramuros over the weekend.
The 36-year-old, San Andres, Manila native toppled Jose Aquino, Jr. in the ninth and final round then edged International Masters Ronald Dableo and Jan Emmanuel Garcia to finish with eight points and snare the rapid crown.
Dableo and Garcia also wound up with eight points but Elorta took the championship after the tiebreaks.
A few hours later, Elorta opted to play it safe and agreed to a draw with eventual winner FIDE Arden Reyes in the blitz section reduced from nine to seven rounds due to time constraints.
Elorta also topped the Open events in Ilagan, Isabela, won in Toril, Davao twice and ruled the other Torre Cup hosted by PECA or a group of chess-playing executives.
But lack of funds forced Elorta to withdraw from the semifinals of the SEAG qualifier in Iloilo this weekend.
“While I dream of representing the country in the SEA Games, I’m sad to say that I can’t qualify and join the semifinals in Iloilo because I can’t afford the travel expenses,” said Elorta, who relies on the sport alone to support a family of three. “The money I have right now, I’ll just spend this on my family.”
Veterans IMs Ricky de Guzman and Barlo Nadera said Elorta would be a big plus for the national team in the SEAG the country is hosting later this year.
“In our time, it was (Grandmaster) Joey Antionio who was the blitz king. Now I think he is,” said Nadera of Elorta.
“He’s definitely fast. I think he’s capable of winning a medal, maybe a gold in the SEAG with his skill,” said de Guzman.
Dableo wound up second while Garcia third in the rapid while FM Mari Joseph Turqueza and Jose Aquino, Jr. ended up second and third, respectively, in the blitz behind Reyes.
The top 30 in this nine-round tournament will advance to the semifinals slated May 24-26 in Passi, Iloilo with the top 10 in men’s division and top 13 in women’s side will clash in the finals next month for spots in the national teams.
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