ELLA Grace Moulic is the lone Davao City player who will see action in the 15th Association of Southeast Asian+ Age-Group Chess Championship 2014 that will open tomorrow in Macau, China.
The 16-year-old Moulic left for Manila yesterday morning to catch up with the rest of the Team Philippines that planed to Macau sans fellow Dabawenyo chesser Fide master (FM) Austin Jacob Literatus whose renewed passport will yet come out on Thursday.
Toril resident Literatus, a varsity scholar at the National University (NU), regretted to have missed the trip, "Sayang lagi kaayo Mam. Maski unsaon ug hangyo sa Jan. 5 pa man gud daw mugawas ang akong passport.
Dili lang gihapon ko makaabot kay sa Jan. 4 naman sugod ang dula (It's very unfortunate. We really asked to have it released earlier but we were told to wait on Jan. 5. I wouldn't make it anymore as the tournament will start on Jan. 4)."
Moulic and Literatus qualified to the Asean chessfest after bagging the gold medals of the girls under-16 and boys under-20 categories, respectively, of the National Age-Group Chess Championship at Leachar Resort and Leisure Park in San Antonio, Quezon Province in April.
Both also qualified in their respective events last year, yet, Moulic was the only one who made it to the 2013 edition of the annual meet in Chang Mai, Thailand as Literatus was not able to renew his passport.
"Ungta next year mag qualify gihapon ko kay naa najud koy passport ana (I hope I qualify again next year since I would have my passport by then)," Literatus said in a phone interview with Sun.Star Davao Friday.
Literatus, a 2013 Palarong Pambansa double gold medalist in Dumaguete City, however, said he's happy for Moulic, a Holy Cross of Davao College (HCDC) student, for making the trip. He believes that the latter will be a force to reckon with in her division.
"She may even emerge as the champion as it's her peak in U16)," Literatus said in the vernacular.
Meanwhile, Moulic's father Alfred was thankful that his daughter at last got a Davao-Manila plane ticket after worrying about it over the weekend.
He said National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) regional director James Infiesto found a way to provide a plane ticket for Moulic so she can make the Macau trip. All the other traveling expenses will be shouldered by Manila-based NCFP.
Alfred, however, said they will seek help from the City Mayor's Office for the payment of the plane ticket.
It was recently announced by Literatus and Moulic, during their guesting at the Davao Sportswirters Association (DSA) Forum, that the Sports Development Division-CMO will shoulder their domestic plane tickets.
But an SDD-CMO staff yesterday said the request for their plane tickets has yet to be approved by CMO. Once approved, Moulic's loaned ticket will then be paid.
Alfred, in a Facebook message to this writer, said: "We bought Ella's ticket in a 15-day credit term last (Sunday) night para lang matuloy siya. Hope mabayaran ng city, kung hindi patay ako."
Moulic was seeded fourth in the girls 16 standard chess event as compatriot Shania Mae Mendoza grabbed the top seeding in the 13-player category with Vietnam players woman FM Vu Thi Dieu Ai and Nguyen Hoang Anh seeded second and third, respectively. The other chessers represent Indonesia, Mongolia, Malaysia, Laos and China.
Literatus, for his part, was seeded seventh in boys 20 open standard division where Filipino FM Paulo Bersamina was seeded first. Three players from Singapore - FM Tin Jingyao, Foo Zhi Rong Benjamin and FM Liu Xiangyi took the next three seeds followed by FM Nguyen Anh Khoi and Dang Hoang Son of Vietnam. The open 20 event also drew a total of 13 players, others coming from Indonesia, Malaysia and China.