Alicia, Isabela—The 2023 Philippine National Children, Juniors, and Seniors Chess Championships concluded on May 30 in Alicia, Isabela, with Adrian Pacis, the Philippines’ first FIDE Master, leading the winners.
National Chess Federation of the Philippines Region II Director Mayor Joel Amos Alejandro embarked on the holding of the tournament to promote competitive grounds and national-level chess contests in the Cagayan Valley region.
Alejandro said they will start an inter-provincial chess tournament and establish a chess club in order to encourage the youth, who have the potential to excel in this mind sport.
Adrian Pacis, the Philippines’ first FIDE Master, won the first National Seniors, maintaining his lead over seeded International Master Chito Garma after winning the direct encounter tiebreak with 6/7 points, outplaying his rival’s French Defense in Round 4.
With 4.5 points, National Master Edmundo Gatus finished third, followed by Reymundo Buenavida and Lionel Cerezo.
Wilson Laggui and Esteban Dayag were named Top Isabela Seniors 65+ and 50+, respectively.
Dasmarinas bet, IM Michael Concio Jr. won with 7.5 points, winning by half-point against UAAP Season 85 Most Valuable Player, NM Christian Marcelo Olaybal of Far Eastern University from Binangonan in a Four Knights’ struggle during the final and ninth rounds of the Junior Boys’ division.
Former leader Jan Clifford Labog of Solano slammed Concio with an unstoppable kingside attack in Round 7, but lost the championship to SEA Games Qualifying Grand Finalist Chester Neil Reyes of Rodriguez, who finished second with 7 points in the final round.
Labog finished third, one point ahead of FEU’s Oscar Joseph Cantela and General Trias in the Bucholz tiebreak, with 6.5 points, while Prince Ivan Coloma was named Top Isabela Junior.
Ma. Elayza Villa of National University from General Trias was able to consolidate and turn the tables from a losing position in her last round against Far Eastern University’s reserve, Sheila Mer Donoga, to crown herself Juniors Girls’ champion, thereby edging the 14-year-old UAAP Season 85 Rookie of the Year, WNM Ruelle Canino from FEU with 7.5 points in the final tally.
Bonjoure Fille Suyamin of General Trias finished third with 7 points, upsetting World Juniors’ veteran and last season’s UAAP MVP, WNM Mhage Gerriahlou Sebastian of FEU from Apayao, who finished fourth, only half a point behind Suyamin. Aira Mae Babasa won first place in the Isabela Girls’ category.
Phil Martin Casiguran of Caloocan won the Under 12 Years Old Boys’ title after splitting the point with Tuguegarao’s Joash Alton Gumiran to get a higher Bucholz against Ilagan’s Jaycol Sodela with 7.5 points, while Pat Ferdolf Macabulos of Abucay finished third after beating Tuguegarao’s Kyle Sander Balao.
Top Isabela, U8, U9, U10, and U11 Boys were won by David Voltaire Gabayan, seven-year-old Zeus Lester Manaois from Laguna, ACM Seigneur Juancho Ferrer of Cagayan, Ricky Ryan Besco of Camarines Sur, and AFM Joash Alton Gumiran of Tuguegarao, respectively.
Similarly, Deandra Castronuevo of Imus, Cavite, won the Under 12 Girls’ title with a narrow tiebreak margin, with Pulilan’s WNM Gllasea Ann Hilario finishing second with 7 points and Malolos’ WNM Daniella Bianca Cruz finishing third with 6.5 points. Monique Guiao was named Top Isabela U12 Girls, Princess Rane Magallanes of Dipolog was Top 11, Jheryl Ruiz was Top U10, and Elle Castronuevo of Imus was adjudged Top U9 Girls.
Mayor Alejandro’s unwavering dedication and generosity in providing the best experience and hospitality for all players, volunteers, parents, coaches, and officials revealed his genuine love for his residents and for the game.
The tournament also enjoyed the backing of NCFP chairman/president Prospero Pichay Jr., who helped bring the national event to fruition with the support of PSC chairman Richard Bachmann and POC president Mayor Abraham Tolentino.
The event concluded with a simultaneous exhibition match between FIDE Senior Trainer and 9th Grandmaster of the Philippines, Jayson Gonzales, and 15 young aspiring players and seniors, which ignited the youth’s inspiration for their potential chess career while also restoring the excitement and enjoyment in chess for seasoned veterans.