MANILA, Philippines – Mikee Charlene Suede became the latest toast of Philippine chess after defeating her last round foe Thursday, December 4 to become the first Filipina to win the Asian juniors girls’ division.
“I was a last-minute entry and I didn’t prepare for this tournament. Now that I’ve won, the only thing in my mind is to thank God for giving me this blessing,” said the UP physical education student in a text message to Rappler.com.
Suede finished with 7.5 points, one point ahead of J. Saranya of India. Third for third is the top seed Ivana Furtado of India and Sholpan Zhykladarova of Kazakhstan with six points.
Not only is Suede the country’s latest Woman International Master but the third Filipina this year to get a grandmaster norm after Janelle Mae Frayna and Jodilyn Fronda. Three norms must be achieved in international tournaments to become a grandmaster.
Suede, 20, did not play for the UAAP for one year due to academic deficiencies. She took part in other meets as she took summer and remedial classes. Her good form is due to training under UP coach Leo Carlos before she decided to join the Asian Juniors.
National Chess Federation of the Philippines executive director Jayson Gonzales said they are reaping the early fruits of their program to get the best girl players in Asean age group meets.
“Before, the best players were selected. Since about three years ago, selection tournaments are being held,” he said in a phone interview with Rappler.com.
“We have good reason to believe that we can have our first Filipina grandmaster,” added Gonzales.
In the Open division, Srinath Narayanan of India became champion followed by Filipinos Paulo Bersamina and Jan Emmanuel Garcia. – Rappler.com
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