LUCK continues to smile at Cagayan de Oro pride Alfredo Rapanot, a former standout of Carmen National High School whose family hails in Sitio Macanhan, Barangay Carmen.

Fresh from making it to this year's Subic ASEAN age-group in Olongapo City, the 19-year-old Rapanot finished third in Batangas leg of the Shell Active Chess to qualify for the first time in the prestigious event's National Grand Finals to be slated later this year in Manila.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

Rapanot scored seven points in eight rounds then persevered in the Bucholz tiebreak alongside Jayson Mercado for the top 3 berths in the finals.

Kristian Paulo Cristobal, Mercado's teammate at San Sebastian College, played through unbeatean 7.5/8.0 to bag the title in 20-under junior division.

"Grabe ka sayang...winning na kaayo na time trouble pa ako unta ang mag champion kay taas akong tiebreak," said the 16-year-old Lennon Hart Salgados, formerly with Corpus Christi in Cagayan de Oro, who yielded to Mercado in the eight and final round.

Apparently the same fate suffered by another Kagay-anon in Antonio Chavez Jr. who lost steam at the outset of the two-day chessfest.

All playing out of Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws, the second-seed Salgados, No.6 Rapanot and No.5 Chavez racked up five straight victories each to lead a six-player logjam on top in the junior division of the Shell National Youth Active Chess Championships Southern Luzon leg at SM City Event Center in Batangas City over the weekend.

Salgados, the 2007 National Shell Active kiddies champion and last year's NCR ruler, toppled Nairadeth Dulce, Rogelio Algaba Jr., Simone del Rosario, John Bongon and Neil Javier in the first five rounds.

Chavez prevailed over Lyn Esguerra, Jaeric Caballero, Ali Guya, Giovanni Romero, Cyrene Romero and Emil Maribao while Rapanot downed Emmanuel Espiritu, Bryan Calata, Gladys Romero, Nigel Valenzuela, and Bryan Martinez.

"At least dili ra pud kaayo malas kay naay isa (Rapanot) nga nakalusot sa among tulo. Suwerte na lang kon maka-apil `mi sa last nga qualifying tourney sa Luzon in Bicol region kay layo ra ba kaayo ang Naga City," Chavez said in a text message.

The top-3 qualifiers in the kiddies division were FEU's Paul Robert Evangelista, NU's Felipe Magdalaga and LCBA Calamba's Christian Nanola.