NOT even the pandemic crisis could stop Scott Matthew Escalera in his journey to play and conquer in US chess tournaments.

This, as the Filipino-American whiz kid from Oak Park, Illinois added another collection to his trophy room after ruling the 1st US Chess/ChessKid Online Elementary Championship K-1B section on August 8 over ChessKids online.

The tournament organizers confirmed the results on August 26 after carefully screening the games of all the division winners.

The seven-year-old Escalera, whose father Ren was a blue-bloodied native of Cagayan de Oro City and now a US citizen, finished the division with perfect 7 points along with Wenqiao Chen of Texas.

Escalera, who was a state champion and a consistent top-10 finisher in national age-group championships, claimed the top spot after accumulating higher tie-break points against his closest pursuer from Texas.

The K-1 division was attended by almost 600 participants and were divided into two brackets, where registrants in odd numbers were grouped to section A and even numbers to the section B.

“Scott was expecting to play in one division until the organizers decided to break them in two groups that led him to section B,” Ren said.

First placers in both sections were supposedly named co-champions in K-1, but Escalera’s name was among the first to be announced along with other division winners in the news released by the organizers.

Escalera will receive a distinctive plaque from the organizers, a replica from US Team jersey, and he will be given an opportunity to have lessons with top level GMs.

The whole elementary championship, sponsored by the United States Chess Federation and drew attraction with 2,100 participants.

This was Scott’s notable game in Round 6 against Sharath Radhakrishnan of Ohio.

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.Nf3 c6 5.d4 Nf6 6.Bd3 Bg4 7.O-O e6 8.Bd2 Qc7 9.Qe2 Nbd7 10.Rae1 Bd6 11.h3 Bh5 12.Ne4 Nxe4 13.Bxe4 Nf6 14.Bd3 O-O 15.Qe3 Nd5 16.Qe4 Bg6 17.Qg4 Bxd3 18.cxd3 Bf4 19.Bxf4 Qxf4 20.Qxf4 Nxf4 21.Re3 Rfd8 22.g3 Nd5 23.Re2 Nb4 24.a3 Nd5 25.Re4 Rd6 26.Rc1 Rad8 27.Rc4 Ne7 28.a4 Rd5 29.b4 a5 30.bxa5 Rxa5 31.Rb4 Ra7 32.Kg2 Nd5 33.Rc4 Rda8 34.Ne5 Rxa4 35.Rc5 Ra2 36.Nd7 Rb2 37.Kf3 Raa2 38.Kg4 f5+ 39.Kg5 fxe4 40.dxe4 h6+ 41.Kh5 Ne7 42.Re5 Rxf2 43.Rxe6 Kf7 44.Rd6 Ra5+ 45.Ne5+ Ke8 46.Re6 Rf6 0-1