DABAWENYA Samantha Umayan just took after her father Vincent, a chess player himself, in learning the ropes of the mind sport when she was 10.
It is quite late though since most woodpushers start learning it as early as four or five years old.
But Sam, now 13, didn’t mind as she is taking things in stride.
“Tinuruan po ako ng Papa ko at nahiligan ko na rin po,” she told SunStar Davao in a Facebook interview.
She last competed in the Davao City Athletic Association (Dcaa) Meet two years ago. Yet, she neither reached the Davao Region Athletic Association (Davraa) Meet nor the Palarong Pambansa.
Sam graduated at Buhangin Central Elementary School Sped Center(BCESSC) and she, along with her parents, decided to accept the scholarship that FEU offered her.
She chose FEU, “dahil po sa scholarship at dahil po sa training na meron sa FEU, lalo na po GM (grand master) ang nagtuturo”. She was pertaining to GM Jayson Gonzales who was instrumental to the success of another Dabawenyo chesser John Marvin Miciano who became a national master (NM) at age 16, Fide master (FM) and international master (IM) at 17.
She recently finished second best female player of the recently-concluded 75th Philippine National Chess Championships NCR Elimination Leg in Pasay City where the heavy field included top rated male woodpushers.
She upset 67th seed John Miguel Legaspina, 52nd seed Amando Labarda and 41st seed Roma Asea Simplina, then she split points with 38th seed Anne Krischa Tagayuna and 50th seed Raymond Parra in the tournament. But she lost to 13th seed Robert Cacho and Donato Bello Jr.
She, thus, advanced to the semifinals set in November.
Sam also bagged a runner-up honors in the 2019 National Chess Championships semi-final round in Malvar, Batangas where she scored huge upsets over second seed woman candidate master (WCM) Mira Mirano in the third, fourth seed Natori Biazza Diaz and eighth seed Manilyn Cabungcag.
She also helped Team Philippines win three silver medals in the 29th Asean+ Age-Group Chess Championships 2019 held last June in Mandalay, Myanmar.
She emerged gold medalist in girls under-14 event of the 2019 National Age-Group Chess Championships Visayas Leg held at SM Seaside Cebu and under-13 girls champion in the 2019 National Youth and Schools Chess Championship-Visayas Leg in Bacolod City.
Sam, a consistent honor student, also copped a silver medal in the 2019 National Age-Group Chess Championships.
With a renowned GM as coach and supportive parents, Sam is expected to reach greater heights, say, within the next five years.