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by Marlon Bernardino

CEBU---Grandmaster Rogelio "Joey" Antonio Jr., the 13-times Philippines Open champion, suffered a stinging defeat in Monday's second round to drop out of the lead in the 2018
Philippine National Games (PNG) Chess Tournament being held at the Robinson Galleria Cebu here.

The Calapan, Oriental Mindoro native Antonio yielded to No.19 Fide Master Austin Jacob Literatus after 51 moves of Alekhine Defense.

" I hope i can sustain my winning ways," said the Davao bet Literatus, top player of National University (NU) chess team under the tutelage of team manager Samson Go and coach United States Chess Federation (USCF) master Jose "Jojo" Aquino Jr.

Photo shows Gov. Al Francis C. Bichara Albay chess team (from left to right) Mr. Jaime Nunez, GM Jayson Gonzales, GM John Paul Gomez, WGM Janelle Mae Frayna, Provincial Information Officer and Sports Coordinator Leonardo Flores and NM Carlo Lorena. (photo by Marlon Bernardino)

Literarus, earlier beat unheralded Nino Bondoc of Zamboanga in the opening round on Sunday.

The win improved Literatus to 2.0 points, the same output of top seed GM John Paul Gomez of Albay, No.3 IM Haridas Pascua of Baguio City, No.4 IM Oliver Dimakiling and No.5 IM John Marvin Miciano of Davao City, No.7 IM Jan Emmanuel Garcia of Quezon City, No.8 IM Paulo Bersamina of Tandag City, No.9 GM Darwin Laylo of Marikina City, No.10 untitled Danny Maersk Mangao of Bacolod City, No.11 IM GM Jayson Gonzales of Albay.

Gomez whose stint here backed up by Gov. Al Francis C. Bichara toppled No.18 NM Noel Dela Cruz of Makati City after 40 moves of Sicilian defense, Pascua subdued Fide Master Stephen Rome Pangilinan of Manila, Dimakiling waylaid NM Joey Albert Florendo of Zamboanga City after 34 moves of Torre Attack and Miciano escaped in a drawish Knight Bishop Pawn end game to beat Filipino and United States chess master Almario Marlon Bernardino Jr. of Barangay, Malamig, Mandaluyong City after 80 moves of Pirc defense.

Garcia , on the other hand nipped NM Elmer Sumngat of Tagbilaran City after 47 moves of Ruy Lopez Opening, Bersamina crushed NM Mario Mangubat of Cebu Province after 32 moves of French defense, Laylo toppled NM Leonardo Alidani of Mandaue City after 27 moves of English Opening, Mangao dealt John Ray Batucan of Panabo after 49 moves of King's Indian defense and Gonzales, another top player of Gov. Al Francis C. Bichara of Albay, prevailed over Gal Brien Palasigue of Makati city after 25 movers of Dutch defense.

The other favorites IM Kim Steven Yap of Cebu Province and NM Anthony Makinano of Cebu City, also moved past their opponents Ahmad Ali Azote of Butuan City and Roy Omerez of General Santos City, respectively.

In the distaff side, Woman National Master Christy Lamiel Bernales and Woman National Master Jean Karen Enriquez, both representing Mandaluyong City continued their winning run. The University of the Philippines (UP)- Diliman ace Bernales toppled Bea Mendoza of Baguio City after 28 moves of French defense while the Jose Rizal University (JRU)-Mandaluyong City top gunner Enriquez smashed Mary Jonah Lequin of Davao City after 35 moves of Queen's Pawn Game.

Bernales, Enriquez, Bernardino and Ricardo "Larry" Jimenez, playing under the banner of Mandaluyong City chess team supported by Mandaluyong mayor Carmelita “Menchie” Aguilar Abalos, former mayor Benjamin "Benhur" de Castro Abalos Jr., Mandaluyong Sports Development head Noel “Big Daddy” Bernardo, Mandaluyong City ABC president and Barangay Malamig chairman Marlon "Marvelous" Manalo and Mandaluyong City chess coach Antonio "Jun" Cruz Jr.

FNA Red Dumuk is the tournament director while IA Ilann Perez is the chief arbiter assisted by FA Felix Poloyapoy, NA Margie Narcilla, NA Noel Morales and NA Mark John Gastar.