MANILA, Philippines — Grandmaster Mark Paragua intends to make a return to the national team after a long absence.
And the United States-based, 36-year-old Paragua made an informal announcement by topping the 10th and last leg of the First Philippine Bullet Chess Championship done online over the weekend.
Paragua finished with a total of 21 points on 19 victories and two draws against two defeats to claim his first title in the weekly tournament staking more than P200,000 courtesy of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines.
It was also the fourth title in less than a week for Paragua after he also ruled the Book of Knight, Curly Shark and Frayna Open that reflected his serious intent of finding his way back to the World Chess Olympiad team.
“I want to play for our country in the Olympiad again,” said Paragua, who played in the biennial meet four times — 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2012 — before migrating the US in 2012.
Paragua said he would have wanted to represent the country in the last year’s Southeast Asian Games in Subic where the country failed to win a single gold if he had only known there was a qualifying tournament.
“Its always a special feeling representing the Philippines,” he said.
GM Banjo Barcenilla, the first leg champion, finished second with 20 points while International Master Paolo Bersamina was third with 18.5 points.
The semifinals is set next week while the Grand Finals, which stakes a total cash pot of P100,000, the week after.