PENNSYLVANIA–Filipino-American David Asuncion Apelo bested 61 other players in a 7-Round Swiss format to bag the crown for the 45th Liberty Bell Open Under -2100 chess tournament on Jan. 18-21, at the Sonesta Hotel in Philadelphia.
Apelo, who is from Queens, New York, took home the grand cash prize of $1,185 after scoring six points in seven rounds.
The tournament was organized by the Continental Chess Association under the direction of Bill Goichberg, a former president for the US Chess Federation.
Apelo told Asian Journal that he was proud of his victory as a Filipino representative in the tournament. No other Filipino participated in the tournament aside from him. Moreover, Apelo said the prize money was “not bad.”
The 55-year old Apelo said that the opponents he faced were extremely competitive, especially with the entry of many young and unheralded players.
“But with some luck, my experience still prevailed in the games I [played],” Apelo said.
Runners-up in the Liberty Bell Open were Matthew Lim, Darrin K. Berkley, Kevin A. Wang, and Chris Brooks. They were all tied at 5.5 points, and each took home $444.50 in consolation prizes.
While numerous chess tournaments are taking place on an almost every-other-month basis, team captain Nonoy Rafael said that Apelo will most likely join the World Open next, which will be held in downtown Philadelphia sometime this year.
Apelo in December finished tied for first place at the 31st Annual Empire City Open, Under-2200 section. The tournament was held at the New Yorker Hotel in midtown Manhattan from Dec. 28 to 30. He won $583.33 in cash prizes.
He is known in Filipino chess circles in the tri-state area for his aggressive style of play in chess, which he complements with great sacrificial instincts.
Apelo in 2008 won the Central Park Open and the Brooklyn Blitz Open tournaments. In 2007 he placed second behind former US Champion Grandmaster Sergey Kudrin in the Harlem Chess Open. In 2004 he captured gold as a member of the Philippine team that was victorious in the Merkeda Open in Malaysia.
Apelo works as a chess teacher for children in various schools in New York City.