FILIPINO Grandmaster (GM) Darwin Laylo is rekindling the fire that made him national champion twice almost two decades ago.
With a round to go in the National Chess Championships, the 42-year-old Mr. Laylo is a game away from claiming his first national crown in 17 years and third overall as he leads the annual meet at the PACE in Quezon City.
The Army man from Marikina split the point with International Master (IM) Jan Emmanuel Garcia, his closest combatant, in a 36-move standoff of a timid English encounter in the eighth and penultimate round yesterday that kept his iron grip of the solo lead with six points.
Mr. Garcia remained half a point behind with 5.5 points.
Their fates will be decided in the final round as Mr. Laylo was battling IM Daniel Quizon, who won the last edition of this tilt two years back in Lapu Lapu, Cebu, while Mr. Garcia was tackling Woman GM Janelle Mae Frayna at press time.
Mr. Laylo’s re-emergence was evident last year when he made it to the national team that saw action in the World Chess Olympiad in Chennai, India and snared the silver in team rapid of the Hanoi Southeast Asian Games with IM Paulo Bersamina.
And Mr. Laylo will not be thinking of just the bragging rights as the national chess king but also the top prize amounting to P100,000 courtesy of Malolos City Mayor Atty. Christian Natividad.
That will be worth the 17-year wait. — Joey Villar