Incoming Grade 8 student tops U-14 in National Age Group Chess tilt
MANILA, Philippines – Sometimes, one just needs a little push and the results of that push can prove to be a pleasant surprise.
National Master Rudy Ibanez persisted, but in a gentle way, that 13-year-old Jasper Faeldonia was ripe for the National Age Group Chess Championships in Capiz. Even he, however, did not expect the young man to win the Under-14 ahead of the favorite, Michael Concio Jr of Dasmariñas.
Faeldonia won with 7.5 points out of 11 rounds to win his first national tournament. He had the same score as Concio, who was a finalist in last year's national championship but a better tiebreak gave the incoming Grade 8 student from Arellano University the victory.
"I was not expecting since I saw good players there but I relied on his hardworking character," said Ibanez through a Facebook exchange. "It's luck being first."
Faeldonia had only won silver medals in the 2014 Milo National Little Olympics and the 2017 Palarong Pambansa. In the 2017 NCAA high school division, he won a gold medal playing board 5, which is as a reserve.
There were several players with FIDE titles who did not have to play the national finals, along with some players who will be sponsored by their cities or province.
But strong players, like Daniel Quizon, 14, played in the Under-20 division where he may play in next month's Asean age group chess championship in Davao. Another one was Al-Basher Buto, who played in the Under-8 division and dominated.
Cherrylyn, Jasper's mother, said in a text message that her son "was excited playing in his first national tournament."
Jasper has a quality which is not often seen among some young players who prefer a waiting style. He is aggressive and knows when to take calculated risks, said Ibanez.
"He has lots of room for improvement. (He is) hardworking and never missed practice," said Ibanez. "For me, this attitude is important."
Faeldonia, who learned chess at the age of 6, idolizes world champion Magnus Carlsen and Wesley So, his mother said. In So's case, Jasper's mother said "he was inspired because So became a strong player at a young age."
Jasper's mother said they would be paying a call on Odiongan Mayor Trina Frimalo in Romblon on Monday, May 14, to express their thanks in helping her son. But, for the big event in Davao, Jasper's mother said the National Chess Federation of the Philippines will be paying for his trip.
It could be the start of something good for the boy who doesn't miss chess practice. – Rappler.com