Filipino rules ASEAN Chess Championship

MANILA, Philippines – Paulo Bersamina won his first foreign title on Thursday, October 31, by capturing the 4th ASEAN Chess Championship in Biac Giang, Vietnam.

Bersamina, who posted the winning score of 7 points from 9 rounds over two Vietnamese, collected his second grandmaster norm.  

He can get the third and final grandmaster norm if the FIDE (World Chess Federation) Titles and Ratings Commission will approve the norm he earned in the 2018 Asean Age Group in Davao.

"Hopefully by this year, it will be awarded," said coach Jayson Gonzales in a Viber message.

Jerad Docena finished 9th place with 5 points, while David Elorta came in 16th with 4 points. 

Janelle Mae Frayna, the country's first woman grandmaster, collected her second loss in the last round to finish 8th with 5 points. Catherine Secopito ended up in 12th place with 4.5 points.

"I am very happy with my result," said Bersamina, 21, in a Facebook private message.

Two months ago, Bersamina won the 15-round Balinas Memorial, also his first victory in a standard chess tournament, and then qualified for the finals of the national championship.

Bersamina said his improved form is due to a foreign grandmaster which he secured as online coach early this year through the help of National Chess Federation of the Philippines head Prospero Pichay.

"I resolved many issues in my games," said Bersamina, who did not name the coach. "He shared a lot of knowledge, especially in the openings."

"He fixed my openings as black then corrected some wrong positional/strategical habits," he added.

Bersamina can nail the remaining grandmaster norm and raise his Elo rating to 2500 to get the title in the invitational grandmaster tournament from December 9 to 19, or the Philippine International Open from December 19 to 29. –