The best chess players in the country aged 17 years and below battle wits in the National Youth and Schools Chess Championships unfolding Saturday at the Dapitan City Cultural Complex in Zamboanga del Norte.
Jeremiah Cruz and Janmyl Dilan Tisado spearhead the premier open 17-and-under division, while Rhea Jean Canino and Shaina Magne Romanillos are among the players to watch in the girls’ 17-and-under side in this eight-day event sponsored by Dapitan City Mayor Seth Frederick “Bullet” Jalosjos.
Around a hundred participants made it to the finale including some notable entries like reigning national ladies’ junior runner-up Ruelle Canino and April Joy Claros, who are the favorites to fight it out in the girls 15-and-under.
Another favorite is Christian Gian Karlo Arca in the boys’ 13-and-under.
Apart from Jalosjos, expected to grace the opener are Grandmaster Eugene Torre, National Chess Federation of the Philippines president/chair Butch Pichay and chief executive officer GM Jayson Gonzales and host city tourism chief Apple Marie Agolong.
Gonzales said the winners here would get a chance to represent the country in international age group meets.
“Our hope in the NCFP is to produce future national team players and champions,” said Gonzales.
International Arbiter Reden Cruz will run this FIDE-rated tournament.