AFTER finishing 11th in the Fide World School Chess Championship, Jerish John Velarde will come home as the second best player in Asia following his silver medal finish in the 11th Asian Schools Chess Championship Open Under-9 Category in Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
On the final round the other day, Velarde crashed Mongolian Anar Battulga to finish the nine-round tournament with 7.0 points.
His claim to the silver medal finish was boosted by the win of Chinese Di Zhang over the erstwhile second placer Almas Rakhmatullaev of Uzbekistan in Board 2.
Three players finished with 7.0 points together with Velarde, Zhang and CM Eldiiar Orozbaev of Kyrgyzstan.
However, Velarde bested them all in tie break points with 45.0 on the first tie breaker Orozbaev and Zhang had 44.5 and 44.0 respectively.
Velarde could have earned the gold medal had he not commited a blunder in his Round 7 match against the eventual champion D Gukesh of India, who drew with his final opponent Jagadeesh Siddharth of Singapore to finish half a point over Velarde.
Still, Velarde will come home now with a Candidate Master title which is awarded to the top three finishers in his category.
Facing a do-or-die situation, the young Velarde brought his top game and used a French Defense Opening, sacrificing his bishop at the onset that opened an opportunity for a massive attack that resulted to a check mate in 22 moves.
Velarde had seven wins and two losses in the tournament.