RP  CHESS  SQUAD  LIFTS  INT'L MERDEKA  CUP

KUALA  LUMPUR,  September 1, 2004  (MALAYA) The Philippines banked on a 3-1 conquest of Astro Bold of Malaysia late Monday to capture the team championship of the First Dato Tan International Open chess tournament here.

Ahead by a half-point over Mid-Valley A of China going into the eighth and final round, the Filipino woodpushers leaned on the victories of Grandmaster Nelson Mariano II and Fide Master Oliver Dimakiling in fashioning out the team's thrilling triumph to lift the Merdeka Cup.

Playing on board 2, Mariano dumped Fide Master Nicholas Chan while Dimakiling outwitted P. Hong on Board 3 to anchor the Filipinos whose stint here is funded by the First Gentleman's Foundation and the Philippine Sports Commission.

Grandmaster Joey Antonio had earlier drawn his Board 1 match against Hafizulmi and David Apelo halved his match with Amad Ahafrudin on Board 4.

The Philippines wound up with 24 points to take top honors over the field of 50 teams. Penang State took second with 22 points and Knightmare, another Malaysian squad, was third with 21.5 points.

Mid-Valley A of China, led by the powerhouse cast of GM Ni Hua, Yu Shaoten and Women's Grandmaster Xu Yuhua, finished in a tie for fourth place with sister squad Mid-Valley B with 21 points.

On top of that, Antonio and Mariano, both Army standouts, bagged the silver on their respective boards after garnering six out of a possible eight points.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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