CEBUANO chess ace Lapu-Lapu City Jerish John Velarde picked up two straight wins to climb to the top of the heap in the Open U10 category 2016 Asean + Age Group Chess Championships held at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Pattaya, Thailand.

First to fall was Duc Dung Nguyen of Vietnam who lost to the Lapu-Lapu City child prodigy using the King’s Indian Defence in Round 1. He and was followed by Sitang Wu of China who also lost to the Cebuano Candidate Master using the Sicilian opening.

Velarde who started the tournament as the 9th seed jumped to the no.1 place leading eight other players who also had a 2.0 start that includes the other Filipino bet Mark Jay Bacojo.

Aside from Velarde and Bacojo, the seven other players who had two wins were all Vietnamese players that include CM Quoc Hy Nguyen who is the second seed of the tournament and the gold medal winner of last year’s competition.

Nguyen was Velarde’s opponent in yesterday’s Round 3, which was still being played as of press time yesterday.

Meanwhile, Cebu’s bet in the Girls U8 category, Kristina Concepcion Belano also scored two wins and joined the other Filipino players—Ruelle Canino and Daren de la Cruz who had 2.0 wins after two rounds.

Concepcion defeated Ngoc Chau Ngo of Ngo of Vietnam in Round 1 and Yanapa Sangkham in Round 2 to join the seven players at the top.

Boholano Reishi Boy Polan meanwhile trailed by half a point to the early leaders after he drew his Round 2 match with Trung Hieu Nguyen of Vietnam. Polan defeated his first round opponent Powaree Suwanvaree of Thailand in the Open U14 category competition.

While the Girls U14 competitor from Cebu Glesit Marie Tatoy lost her opening round to FM Ngoc Thuy Duong Bach of Thailand in the opening round and won the second over Irada Sangkham of Thailand in Round 2.

The National Chess Federation of the Philippines sent a total of 54 players to the annual age group competition that include players in the Seniors 50 category.