Panabo City's Fide master (FM) Christian Gian Karlo Arca of Panabo City and woman national master (WNM) Ella Grace Moulic clinched titles in the JSupt Ericley Louise D. Lazaro 1st Warden Rapid Chess Tournament held at the Abreeza Ayala Malls Activity Center over the weekend.
Top-seeded 15-year-old Arca, a 2023 World Youth Chess blitz champion, lived up to his billing to rule the men's 21-above category that attracted 46 entries.
Arca, a student of De La Salle Dasmariñas in Cavite, tallied 5.5 points in the six-round chessfest.
He was unbeaten in the first five rounds, hacking out wins over Rodrigo Bos, Cipriano Magalso, Allan Diez, arena grand master (AGM) Irwin Aton, and second-seeded NM Macacuna Macala.
Arca drew his sixth-round match against sixth-seeded Anthony Mosqueda.
"Happy ako natalo ko ang second seed [Macala]. Overall, it was a great experience (I am happy that I defeated the second seed.
Overall, it was a great experience)," Arca said in a phone interview on Monday afternoon, February 5.
He added, "Marami akong na-learn sa matches ko - to be patient sa laro at gamitin ang oras ng maayos (I learned a lot from my matches - to be patient in the game and use the time properly)."
Davao City's Denzel John Amar and Mosqueda along with General Santos City's John Christian Lesaca placed second, third, and fourth, respectively. The three scored similar five points, but Amar had superior tiebreaks. Macala (4.5) came fifth.
Arca also held a simul chess exhibition during the two-day event, beating 19 players and forcing a draw with one chesser.
Meanwhile, third-seeded Moulic topped the 70-player women's open age division, besting fellow 5.5 scorers Mary Jonah Lequin and Hadassah Ria Literatus via superior tiebreaks.
Lequin and Literatus placed second and third, respectively, while Nathalie Suter of San Pedro College finished fourth with five points.
The 25-year-old Moulic, a former bemedaled Uaap DLSU chess varsity scholar, split the point with Lequin in the final round, after defeating Ruth Literatus, Gabrielle Aton, Cyrish Elaine Magalso, Keren May Magdagasang, and Athena Justine Bagares.
"Lingaw-lingaw lang unta, tas nostalgic ang feeling. Ang pressure, pagpalo sa clock, ug pagmove sa piyesa, kay mao ang akong first game balik after three years (It's supposed to be fun, the feeling is nostalgic - the pressure, beating the clock, and moving the piece, because it was my first game back after three years)," she told SunStar Davao in a Facebook Messenger interview.
She plans to continue competing in huge tournaments to meet old friends and for the love of chess.
Other champions in various categories included Carl Jasphyr Lloyd Fiel (20-under male), Aaron Aton (boys 16-under), Ralz Jaweh Devibar (boys under-12), Camilo Benabente (military uniformed personnel), and NM James Infiesto (government agencies/NGOs).
Cash prizes and trophies were awarded to the winners of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP)-sanctioned tournament, organized by APM Mindanao Chessmates.