CALLING it as their "last hurrah," Cagayan de Oro compatriots Richelieu Salcedo III and Lennon Hart Salgados finally hurdled the last qualifying tourney of the 18th Shell National Youth Active Chess Championship in Luzon area.

Salcedo, 18 of Rizal Technology University and Salgados, 16 of Far Eastern University both scored 7 points for a spectacular 1-2 finish in the Naga leg (Bicol region) of the prestigious event.

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Their only regret, however, was making it to the national finals at the expense of another Kagay-anon Christopher Randolph Dalauta of RTU whom they both defeated in the eight-round Swiss tourney.

"Sayang pud si Chavez (Antonio Jr. of FEU) kay mo-qualify pud unta kon midaug siya sa last round. He was one piece up when his nerves cracked under time pressure," Salgados said of his childhood buddy from Barangay Bonbon, Cagayan de Oro City.

Salcedo III escaped with two draws and a win in the last three rounds then edged Salgados in the tiebreak to capture the junior division title at SM City Naga's Event Center in Naga City last Sunday.

The third-seed Salcedo halved the point with Salgados in the sixth round, downed Daniel Collantes in the seventh then wisely went for another draw with Daniel Pesimo in the final round to clinch the crown in the 20-and-under category.

Salgados also wound up with seven points but settled for runner-up finish and joined Salcedo and third placer Kritz Albelar in the grand finals of the annual event long considered as the spawning ground of chess talents in the country. (JJF)