Chess wunderkind Al Basher Buto bested his older, more experienced opponents to rule the Luzon Leg of the Philippine Sports Commission-National Chess Federation of the Philippines online selection tournament on Thursday.
Buto, 11, scored eight victories out of the possible nine including an impressive final-round triumph over Janmyl Tisado to rule the three-day event and lead the a group of qualifiers to the semifinals slated May 11-13.
It was another victory for the veteran age group internationalist, who is being groomed to be the next Wesley So.
Buto’s other wins came at the expense of against Jose Piro Caro, Joemel Narzabal, Marlon Constantino, Alfredo Balquin Jr., Juan Samson Guillermo Cantela, Jerish John Velarde, Mark James Marcellana.
His only defeat came in the second round at the hands of Joseph Mendoza II.
Good thing he bounced back big from it and strung together seven straight triumphs to snatch the crown in the tournament bankrolled by the PSC and sanctioned by the NCFP headed by Senior Deputy Speaker Butch Pichay.
Tisado had a chance to nail the title with a draw but he just did not have an answer to a fierce attacker in Buto and settled for second with 7.5 points in this event using a rapid time control of 15 minutes with a 10-second increment.
Nezil Ari Magnaye Merilles was third with 7.5 points, while Mark James Marcellana, Ivan Travis Cu, Adrian Basilgo, Daniel John Lemi, Israel Landicho, Cedric Daniel Macato, and Jan Darryl Bautista rounded up the top 10.
Meanwhile, the qualifying stage will resume with the Visayas edition set April 13-15 while the Mindanao leg is from April 20-22.
The top finishers in the grand finals, scheduled from July 2-4 using the hybrid format of online and face-to-face games will make the national team, according to tournament director Grandmaster Jayson Gonzales.
For inquiries, interested parties may contact Michelle Yaon at 0910-3726152 or Susan Neri at 0933-5505019.
Registration is free.