Bound for nationals

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Thursday, August 7, 2014


UNIVERSITY of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) player Jethro Esplanada earned a spot to the National Finals after topping the Juniors Division of the Northern Mindanao Leg of the 2014 Shell National Active Youth Chess Championships held in Cagayan de Oro City.

It’s a 1-2punch for the Cebuano contingent as Felix Shaun Balbona also of USJ-R copped the second slot after finishing second behind Esplanada, giving Cebu four representatives to the National Finals in October.

Last month, national defending champion Rhenzi Kyle Sevillano of the University of San Carlos--Basic Education Department (USC-BED) and Vincent Balena earned their tickets to the national finals after finishing first and second respectively.

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In the Cebu Leg, Balbona finished third, while Esplanada finished at eighth place.

The only speck on Esplanada’s winning run in the Mindanao leg was a draw with Balbona on Round 5. He beating eight other opponents including Diego Abraham Claro of the University of Cebu and CDO local player John Ray Batucan of Cor Jesu College to finish the nine-rounds Swiss System tournament with 8.5 points.

Balbona, on the other hand, scored seven wins, a draw and a loss to settle for second place.

Balbona defeated Alwyns Dave Borres, Rod Gabriel Alenton, Justine Gian Olivares, Kenneth Norman Honculada, Alberto Diolola Jr., Batucan and Jimzon Trangia before losing to Claro in the final round.

Batucan, Claro and John Gerard Acedo of Bukidnon State University, Julie Anne Opema and Aljie Cantonjos both of Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive High School and Alvin Acas of Holy Cross College of Davao all finished with 7.0 points.

However, it is only Opema, the top Female performer, who will join Esplanada and Balbona as Northern Mindanao qualifiers.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 08, 2014.

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