Monday, May 14, 2007

So, Salvador capture national junior titles
By NCFP Reporter, 11 May 2007

Final standings

8.5 points - Wesley So
7.5 - K. Yap, J de Ramos
7.0 - L. Magdalaga, I. Biag, K. Ochoa, J. Turqueza, A. Delfin
6.5 - Richielieu Salcedo Emmanuel John Salazar Lehi Dan Laceste Joseph Mercado James Ryan Fernandez

8.0 points – A.Salvador
7.0 - J. Fronda, C. Guiang, M. Dimakiling
6.5 - Y.Jose, C. Bernales, J. Docena
6.0 - Z. Dela Cruz, E. Tumbos, C. Mendoza, A. Montales, K. Cunanan, A. Ibanez, C. Anabieza, R. Guerra, M. Suede

GM-candidate Wesley So made chess history by becoming the youngest-ever champion in the 2007 National Junior Chess Championship which came to a fitting end at the Marketplace Shopping Center in Mandaluyong City.

So, who is hoping to become the country’s youngest GM at age 13, outsteadied little-known James Bulicatin in a rook and bishop endgame to capture the championship in this prestigious competition organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) led by president and Team Unity senatorial candidate Rep. Prospero “Butch” Pichay and secretary-general and Tagaytay City Mayor Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino.

The incoming second year student of St. Francis of Assisi College-Bacoor, who handled the black side of a Queen’s Indian Opening, outwitted the Davao-based Bulicatin and turned a one-pawn edge in the tense endgame to a rousing victory.

Overall, So finished with eight wins and one draw against Julius Joseph de Ramos of NCAA champion Letran College in the eighth round.

It was So’s first national junior title, adding it to his earlier National Open triumph last December.

He also pocketed the top prize of P15,000 and trophy.

“Nakuha ko po sa tiyaga sa endgame. Lamang na kasi ako ng isang pawn at may dalawa pang passed pawns,” said So, who is also best remembered for winning the gold medal in the recent Asian Cities chess team championship held in Tehran, Iran.

De Ramos and Kim Steven Yap of Cebu emerged tied for second to third places with 7.5 points each and split the combined prizes of P17,000.

Actually, De Ramos could have won the title with a win over Yap with a superior tiebreak, but failed to get past the white-playing Yap.

Five players, led by Luffe Magdalaga and Karl Victor Ochoa, shared fourth to eighth places with seven points.

Joining Magdalaga and Ochoa were Ivan Gil Biag, Joseph Turqueza and
Andrew Delfin.

Richelieu Salcedo led four other players with 6.5 points.

With Salvador in ninth to 13th places were Emmanuel John Salazar, Lehi Dan Laceste, Joseph Mercado and James Ryan Fernandez, who also finished with 6.5 points.

In the girls division, Aices Salvador of La Salle, repeated as solo champion.

Salvador, the 17-year-old business management student, pounced the opening miscue by Asian Games campaigner Jedara Docena to hack out the win in their Pirc opening and retain the title with eight points out of a possible nine.

“Nagkamali siya kaagad siya sa opening pa lang, kaya sa middle game nakuha ko na ang panalo,” said Salvador.

Three players – Jan Jodilyn Fronda, Cherry Lyn Guiang and Marie Angeli Dimakiling – shared second to fourth places with seven points apiece.

Fronda outclassed WNM Kimberly Jane Cunanan, Guiang trounced Annie Montales, and Dimakiling whipped Rulp Ylem Jose in the ninth and final round.

Completing the top 11 finishers in the girls’ division were Ylem Jose, Christy Bernales and Jedara Docena, who finished with 6.5 points; and Ma. Zayrah dela Cruz, Eden Tumbos, Cheyzer Mendoza, Abnie Montales, Cunanan, Andrea Ibanez, Romelin Guerra and Mikee Charlene Suede, who had six points.

NCFP officials Red Dumuk, Willie Abalos and Gene Poliarco awarded the trophies and cash prizes to the winners in the absence of Rep. Pichay and Mayor Tolentino.

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