CEBU CITY -- Clyde Harris Saraos clawed back in strong contention after the fifth day of action in the ongoing 2017 National Age Group Chess Championships grand finals in Robinsons Galleria here.
Saraos, a pride of Jasaan, Misamis Oriental, rose to solo second place after the ninth round of the hotly-contested 14-under boys category.
From a bad start, Saraos scored three consecutive victories starting in Round 7 to pull out surprising comeback.
“Kalit lang siya og saka. Wala damha nga napilde sab ang naa sa taas ug nangdaug sab siya,” said Johnnel Balquin, head delegation of Cagayan de Oro chess team.
Saraos now has 6.5 points with half a point margin against closest pursuers.
Jave Mreck, Christopher Khalil Kis-ing, Paul Matthew Llanillo and Chrisus Joshua Sarchez shared at third place with six points apiece.
Daniel Quizon remained on top of their category with eight points to show, while Saraos needs to be cautious in the remaining games for him to qualify.
David Rey Ancheta of Corpus Christi is also in a must-sweep situation in the 12-under boys level.
Ancheta trailed at fourth place with 6.5 points after the 11th round with four more rounds to go.
Michael Boncio Jr. stays unbeaten in 12-under boys with 11 points, while Mark Bacojo and Joshua Michael Yongco followed at second and third with 8 and 7.5 points, respectively.
Ruelle Canino, who hails from Barangay Kauswagan, shared fourth place with Kimberly Colaste and a narrow chance to land in the top-3 of the 10-under girls bracket.
Both Canino and Colaste have six points after the ninth round with four more rounds left.
Canino is also coming from back-to-back wins.
Her compatriot Janiella Maeren Garcia was not so lucky, however, as he suffered another costly defeat against Kristina Conception Belano in the ninth round.
Garcia slids to solo sixth place.
Meanwhile, Balquin shares the lead with two others in the side event of the age-group tourney.
Balquin had a 3-0 start in the company of National Master Merben Roque of host Cebu City and Edsel Montoya of Bacolod City.
Balquin encountered a rough sailing in the second round, nearly losing to Cebuana foe Airene Robillos in a one-pawn down situation.
“Gitipokan ako og mga manan-away kay losing na akong posisyon. Maayo gani kay nakalamba pa,” Balquin said after the game.
Balquin defeated fellow Kagay-anon Nazario Ubanan in a Scandinavian defense game of the third round.
He’s still playing with NM Roque in fourth as Montoya clashes with Fide Master Roel Abelgas of Manila.
Abelgas has only 2.5 points along with International Master Ronald Bancod, Rommel Ganzon, Mario Mangubat, Joseph Navarro, Diego Abraham Caparino, Peterson Sia and Bryle John Arellano.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on May 09, 2017.