A long journey to Asean, Asian youth chess events-A A +A
Saturday, February 2, 2013
SOME 20 players from Davao City are currently going through a tedious qualifying process in the 2013 National Age-Group Chess Championships (NAGCC) Mindanao Leg at the Robinson's Place, General Santos City in a bid to win berths to the national grand finals set in Manila.
At stake in the nationals are slots to the national team that will compete in an all-expense-paid trip to the 2013 Asean + Age-Group Chess Championships slated June 8 to 17 in Bangkok, Thailand.
While Dabawenyo 15-year-old Fide Master Austin Jacob Literatus gained an automatic slot to the grand finals, brothers Nephtali and John Ray Batucan, Clark Kent Anabieza, John Gerard Acedo, Dhona Yngayo, Ella Grace Moulic, Zsuzsa Grace Tabudlong, Yna Krisha Yngayo, Exiquila Apao, Cristy Grace Ngo, Irish Yngayo, Bhing Joel Gimony, John Marvin Miciano , Chrisus Joshua and Chrisus Joseph Sarchez, Alisa Tabudlong, Kenneth James and Kurt John Placencia and Eric Yngayo, Jr. are still slugging it out in General Santos hoping to land among the top three in their respective categories to secure the coveted grand finals seats.
National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) regional director James Infiesto, in a phone interview, said Dabawenyo chessers are very keen on joining qualifying legs despite the preparation they have to undergo, travel time and expenses that may be required of them.
"Each player who joins a qualifying will have to play a minimum of seven games with seven other chessers who also aim to advance to the grand finals. Thus, it is expected that competition will be very stiff," Infiesto said.
When one does qualify to the nationals, he or she has to play seven or nine or 11 games more opposite seven or nine or 11 other players. The room for mistake then is very slim.
Infiesto said that a player can only afford to lose one game or draw two matches in every tournament to finish among the top three. Though chances are slim to place first, second or third, players do still take what little chance they have since the ultimate reward is the honor to represent the country to the AAGCC. A great showing in the AAGCC may also send the player to the more prestigious Asian Youth Chess that is set on June 20 to 27 in Mashdad, Iran this year.
Doña Carmen Denia National High School mainstay Literatus had the opportunity to play in the 2012 Asian Youth held in Sri Lanka following his three-gold and two-silver finish in the AAGCC in Hue City, Vietnam.
Aside from Literatus, hopes are high that more Dabawenyos will qualify to the nationals en-route to the AAGCC.
After three rounds as of February 2, Nephtali stayed unbeaten to share the boys under-20 lead with Michael Gastala while younger brother John Ray led six other two-pointers including fellow Davao City bets John Gerard Acedo and Clark Kent Anabieza.
The fourth-seed Nephtali upset top-ranked John Ray in the third round after beating No. 9 Jason Nabatlao in the second. John Ray, a former AAGCC gold medalist, earlier defeated No. 17 Ryan Concepcion before losing to his elder brother.
In girls U20, University of Mindanao's Exiquila Apao tallied 2.5 points to share the lead with Rose Irene Aldovino. The second-seed Apao outclassed ninth-seed Crystal Mae Dumago after splitting the point with third-seed Kathleen Joy Meniano. UM's Cristy Grace Ngo, however, dropped to seventh place with 1.5 points having lost her second match to fifth-seed Cyrille Gwynn Vidad and prevailing over her third round rival Joanne Santos.
Barner School's Zsuzsa Grace Tabudlong, for her part, swept all her three games to grab the top spot of the girls U16 while Davao Central College's Dhona Yngayo and Holy Cross of Davao College's Ella Grace Moulic shared the second to third place with identical 2.5 points. Third-ranked Tabudlong bested Valerie Rafales and Janin Crisologo in the last two matches.
Miciano of Ateneo de Davao University and Gimony remained in contention with similar two points in boys U14.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 03, 2013.