Mindanao’s youngest chess master eyes Asia Youth title

Lynde Salgados
Mindanao’s youngest chess master eyes Asia Youth title

RISING STAR. Ruelle ‘Tawing’ Canino of Cagayan de Oro studies her moves during a competition. 

Canino family/Contributed photo

Chess whiz Ruelle Canino looks to lead Team Philippines in the Asia Youth online tourney after topping the country's selection event

Mindanao’s youngest Woman National Master, Ruelle “Tawing” Canino, will see action in the three-day Eastern Asia Youth 2021 to be hosted by Thailand starting on Friday, September 24.

The 13-year-old Cagayan de Oro native, who has so far brought home 15 gold medals from the international chess arena, will reinforce Team Philippines’ bid in the Asia Youth online tourney after topping the country’s selection event early this month.

In that elimination, Canino – the only female participant in her bracket – was made to compete against male rivals in the 14-under boys category.

And survive she did, edging fellow 6-pointer Juncin Estrella in the Bucholz tiebreaker, 28.5-25.5, for the crowning glory.

Canino’s older brother Ronald also qualified after his third-place finish in the 18-under boys division.

All top three finishers in each bracket will advance to the Eastern Asia Youth chessfest, according to the organizing National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP).

For their feats, the Caninos were also conferred with the national master titles by NCFP chairman Prospero Pichay Jr., thus making little Tawing as Mindanao’s youngest titled chess player.

“I think the titles have been long overdue especially for the younger Canino (Tawing) who already brought so much pride and honor to the country in the recent past,” said the Canino siblings’ chess trainer, Jaime Joshua Frias II.

Frias said the young female chess whiz already racked up a total of 10 golds in the ASEAN age-groups in Malaysia and Thailand plus five more gilts during the 2019 Asia Youth competition.

“A bright future awaits Tawing Canino. I hope she can sustain the momentum in the international level with the help of the NCFP,” Frias, a Dubai Open and Australian champion himself in the challenger division, told Rappler.

The Caninos’ mother Maria Gina said her youngest daughter had just accepted a scholarship offer from Manila’s Far Eastern University (FEU) for its junior chess varsity team.

“There’s still so much to improve in all facets of her game, including the opening, middlegame and endgame. We would surely miss her but this is what’s best for her future,” the mother said.

She expects Filipina compatriot April Claros and a Mongolian qualifier to be her daughter’s toughest tests in the Eastern Asia Youth rivalry.

The 13-year-old Canino left a legacy at the Kauswagan Elementary School in Cagayan de Oro where she graduated. While a student there, she won triple golds during the Mindanao elimination of the 2019 Batang Pinoy meet in Davao, and then she capped it with the national championship victory in Puerto Princesa, Palawan that same year. –