RP chessers stay on top

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — A day after pocketing three golds and four silver medals in the blitz event of the 8th Asean Age-Group Chess Championship at Jomtien Hotel here, the country’s top age-groupers resumed their bids in the standard event and emerged with decisive victories going into the tournament’s last two rounds.

Seven rounds into the nine-round, Swiss system tournament, seven of the 27 Filipino entries are comfortably placed in the top 5 of their respective categories, with Haridas Pascua still unscathed with seven straight wins and Brena Mae Membrere and Marie Antoinette San Diego holding on the top spot in the girls’ side.

Pascua, fresh from clinching a gold medal in the blitz side of the tournament, added Indonesia’s Urbanis Menako Gokok to his list of victims, securing the win in 39th move of a Sicilian Pelican.

The 13-year-old Mangatarem, Pangasinan native outplayed Gokok in the middle game, with the pawn on the e-file threatening to break through when the Indonesian opted to surrender.

The win kept Pascua’s lead of 1.5 points over second-placed Nguyen Van Hai of Vietnam, who had 5.5 points after seven rounds.

“Tiyaga-tiyaga na lang po. Basta huwag lang magkakamali,” said Pascua.

Membrere, a student at the Notre Dame College in Aringay, La Union, and the top seed in the girls’ U-12, outwitted Vietnam’s Nguyen Ngoc Thuy Trang to also wrest the lead in her group with 5.5 points.

In the girls’ U-8, San Diego toppled Lin Htet Htet Oo of Myanmar to remain on top with six points, with teammate Samantha Glo Revita a full point behind with 5.0 points with two other foreign entries.

Jerad Docena, the country’s top bet in the boys’ U-10, halved the point against Azarya Jodi Setiyaki of Indonesia to improve his mark to 5.5 points and secure a tie for second and third spot behind the pace-setting Tran Tuan Minh of Vietnam.

Also in the top 5 were Chardine Cheradee Camacho, who is at fourth place in the girls’ U-14 with 4.0 points and U-18 bet Aices Salvador, who is third in her group with 4.5 points, a full point off the pace. Camacho drew with teammate Judith Pineda, while Salvador topped Pham Ti Thu Hien of Vietnam.