PH bags 5 golds in 2019 ASEAN Age Group Chess Championships
PH bags 5 golds in 2019 ASEAN Age Group Chess Championships
Vic Glysen Derotas and Mark Jay Bacojo sweep their divisions to banner the Philippines' golden haul

MANILA, Philippines – Three Filipinos won their respective events in the standard chess category of the 20th ASEAN Age Group Chess Championships in Mandalay City, Myanmar, on Sunday, June 16.

National junior girls champ Vic Glysen Derotas and Mark Jay Bacojo won the girls under-18 and boys under-14 categories, respectively, without any losses, while Eric Labog Jr rallied to take the boys under-18 plum.

Mecel Angela Gadut and Daren dela Cruz tied for 1st in the under-10 and under-12, respectively, pushing the Philippines’ golden haul to 5.

Derotas, who plays for Nazareth School of National University, dominated the field with her aggressive style that gave her the juniors crown in June.

Bacojo, the newest ace of the Dasmariñas chess stable, was under the shadow of International Master Daniel Quizon and former national chess championship finalist Michael Concio Jr.

In Myanmar, Bacojo – son of a tricycle driver and a supplier of dental supplies – stunned observers with 6.5/7 before drawing his last two games to clinch the title.

Labog, the Palaro champion, drew 5 out of the 9 games. He won after Stephen Rome Pangilinan upset co-leader Navaratnam Rohan Shan Tze of Malaysia.

The other co-leader, Israelito Rilloraza, lost to Nguyen Huynh Minh Thien, handing Labog the crown.

Gadut tied for 1st with two Vietnamese in the girls under-10, while Dela Cruz was tied for the top spot with No. 1 seed Vietnamese Nguyen Le Cam Hien in the under-12.

John Marvin Micano finished 2nd in the plum boys open division to Vietnamese ace Nguyen Anh Khoi while another standard bearer, Alleney Jia Doroy, never recovered from a penultimate round loss to finish 2nd in the girls’ open division.

Vietnam won 12 of the 15 age group divisions contested in the yearly event, which was held in Davao City in 2018.

The Philippines placed a distant 2nd overall.

Two highly-touted Philippine standard bearers, Al-Basher Buto and Antonella Racasa, faltered in their age categories.

Buto, who had won the under-8 title twice before losing in Davao City last year, failed to take the under-10 in an ominous sign the Vietnamese have found the secret to defeat him. He finished 6th.

Racasa, tipped to contend for the under-12, tumbled after losses in round 5, 6, and 8. She finished tied with Ruelle Canino for 5th and 6th places, above Jersey Marticio, who landed 4th.

But Racasa gained a consolation of sorts as the National Chess Federation of the Philippines was informed by the Asian Chess Confederation that her FIDE Master title application passed the World Chess Federation Qualification Committee. 

This means that Shania Mae Mendoza, winner of the girls’ open division, and Dale Bernardo, who took the boys under-18, will become Woman International Master and International Master, respectively.

On the other hand, Paulo Bersamina – winner of the boys’ open division – will get his grandmaster norm. –

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