International Grandmaster Mark Paragua showed once again that he is in a class all by himself as he scored 25.5 out of the maximum 30, 4.5 points above the second-placer, IM Paulo Bersamina, to win the 1st Philippine National Bullet Chess Championship held last Saturday, June 13, 2020, at the lichess.org chess server. GM Paragua won the title as well as the Php30,000.00 first prize sponsored by NCFP Chairman and President Cong. Prospero Arreza Pichay, Jr.
GM Paragua was particularly dominant against his direct rivals. He scored the maximum 2 points against the participants who placed 2nd to 5th in the double round-robin tournament. He won the tournament with two rounds to spare. Not even a last round loss to UST stalwart Samson Chhiu Chhin Lim could deny him the Championship.
IM Paulo Bersamina initially led the tournament by scoring ten wins in the first ten rounds, but he lost the lead after absorbing a 2-0 loss to GM Mark Paragua in the middle rounds. He never recovered the lead after that. Nevertheless, the former National University standout Bersamina, the only player to win 4 MVP titles in the UAAP chess competitions, is contented with his second-place finish, ahead of seasoned grandmasters Rogelio Barcenilla and Rogelio Antonio, Jr. For his effort, IM Bersamina won the Php20,000.00 prize for second place.
The revelation of the tournament is Michael Concio, Jr. who just turned 15 last May. In a field full of seasoned veterans and blitz specialists, he placed solo third, winning 2-0 against such opponents as IM Daniel Quizon who finished in fourth place and GM Rogelio Barcenilla who ended in 6th place. FM Sander Severino, fresh from his runner-up finish in the FIDE Online Cup for Players with Disabilities, placed fifth.
The tournament was the brainchild of NCFP Chairman and President, Deputy Speaker Prospero Arreza Pichay Jr. Back in March when no one had thought of organizing big-time online chess tournaments as a way of fighting CoVID, Deputy Speaker Pichay conceptualized this championship to show the world how Chess can rise above the COVID pandemic. He backed his concept with his own money by sponsoring the prize fund for the Grand Finals. And, as a gesture of support for our players affected economically by the CoVID pandemic, he made the qualifying legs free of registration fees so that anybody can enter and have a chance of becoming the 1st Philippine Bullet Chess King.
The tournament was broadcasted live by popular Filipino YouTube vlogger IM Roderick Nava. The broadcast had more than ten thousand views when it aired live, and a thousand more watched it on replay within 10 hours of the broadcast. You can watch the replay of the broadcast below as well as on the Broadcasts section of this webpage.