PH clings to ASEAN chess lead, Sulu player surprises
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines' top players clung to the lead in the Under-20 division of the 19th Asean Age Group chess championship after the 5th round Thursday night, June 21, in Davao City.
The defending champion Filipinos were ahead in 7 age categories, followed by Vietnam with 6 and Indonesia with one, as the tournament heads to the last 3 rounds at the Royal Mandaya Hotel.
Paulo Bersamina and Setyaki Azarya Jodi of Indonesia tied for the lead with 4.5 points in the Under-20 division where an unrated player from Sulu rocked the field by taking his 3rd scalp.
Sarri Subahani, a 20-year-old from Sulu downed Kyle Rhenzi Sevillano in a 32-move Center Counter. Sevillano, board one of FEU's varsity team last season, used the opening employed by teammate Merill John Jacutina in winning a pretty miniature in the 4th round.
"I underestimated him and I lost," said Sevillano, who upset top seed John Marvin Miciano on Wednesday, in a private Facebook message.
Subahani defeated junior stalwarts Daniel Quizon, the 14-year-old Dasmariñas star who is entered in the Under-20, and Stephen Rome Pangilinan.
Bersamina, playing in his final Asean Age Group event, defeated Indian Sai Agni Jeeviteesh J in the black side of a 29-move Nimzo-Indian Defense in the 4th round before drawing with Jodi in the 5th round.
National champion Shania Mae Mendoza, the FEU women's board one, led the Under-20 by one point ahead of 3 others including Filipinas Grace Moulic and Kyleen Joy Mordido.
In the boys' Under-18, FEU players occupied the top spot led by Dale Bernardo, the leader with 4.5 points. At second are Israelito Rilloraza, Jacutina with Carl Sato, the only non-FEU chesser. Bernardo upset the Vietnamese top seed Tran Minh Thang.
In the boys' Under-16, Alekhine Nouri and two other Vietnamese are tied for the lead with 4 points.
Al-Basher Buto defeated two Vietnamese contenders to register a perfect 5-of-5 in the under-8 division. He disposed of Pham Viet Thien Phuoc in an 84-move irregular opening in the 4th round and routed Nguyen Vuong Thung Lam as white in a 28-move Pirc Defense.
His father, Bong, told Rappler in a phone interview that the Grade 3 student at Faith Christian School nearly didn't join due to financial constraints. "I am glad our barangay captain who lost in the election gave money along with other supporters," said the elder Buto.
Buto won the under-7 category in the Asian Schools tournament's standard and rapid chess last March in China. He is up against another Vietnamese in Friday's 6th round.
Ruelle Canino of Cagayan de Oro and Angela Gadut are leading the girls' Under-10 with 4.5 points. – Rappler.com
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