Final standings after nine rounds:
28.5 – INA-RTCC (INA)
27.5 – Bhayangkara Police R.I. (INA)
24 --- SMS Gold-KLMN (MAS), Tagaytay City (PHI)
23.5 -- Jakarta Chess Club (INA), Team Astro (PHI
22.5 – IRI (MAS),
22 -- Calamba City, Calamba City B, (PHI) SMS Gold-MO
LAST YEAR’S champion Tagaytay City failed to defend it's title settling for fourth overall at the conclusion of the 29th Merdeka Open Chess Team Championship at the Ballroom, Cititel Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Grandmaster Rogelio “Joey” Antonio finally succumbed to fatigue and dropped a close match against newly-minted International Master Mok Tze Meng, but GM Darwin Laylo and Samson Lim registered the crucial wins, even as Willie Abalos scored a draw as Tagaytay edged SMS-Gold, 2.5-1.5 in the ninth and final round.
Laylo, who will join Antonio and GM Wesley So to the World Cup on November in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, topped Ooi Chern Fe, while Lim turned back Lim Zhou Ren in Boards 2 and 3.
Abalos, also the executive director of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines, settled for a draw against San Wai Cheong.
Overall, Antonio scored 6.0 out of a possible nine points; Laylo finished with 7.5 points, Lim also had six and Abalos scored 4.5 points.
“Actually, maganda na rin ang resulta. We fought hard, but I guess the other teams prepared hard against us,” said Abalos, noting that Indonesia sent no less than three strong teams.
Tagaytay, who won the four previous championships here, actually finished in a tie for third with SMS Gold-KLMN, but had to settle for fourth place due to an inferior tiebreak.
The Indonesian teams, which benefited from a more favorable pairing, finished 1-2, with INA-RTCC clnching the title with 28.5 points and Bhayangkara Police R.I. placing second with 27.5.
Three other Philippine teams made it to the Top 10. Calamba City A finished eighth overall, while Calamba City B was ninth, while Marfori Philippines, led by GM-elect Ronald Dableo, was 10th. All three finished with 22 points.
Tagaytay actually looked headed to a comeback after a 3.5-.5 drubbing of Calamba City in the seventh round that brought its total to 19.5 but ranged against INA-RTCC, the Antonio-led squad could only score a 2-2 draw, winning the top two boards, but losing in the lower boards for a 21.5 total going into the ninth and final round.