Nouri, Sebastian overcome Mindanao rivals to rule national juniors chess

Lynde Salgados
Nouri, Sebastian overcome Mindanao rivals to rule national juniors chess

WINNER. FM Alekhine Nouri (center) receives his championship trophy from NCFP COO Grandmaster Jayson Gonzales (left) and Chess Movement chairman Dr. Ariel Potot.


Teen standouts Alekhine Nouri and Mhage Gerriahlou Sebastian survive a competitive field to top the 2021 Philippine National Juniors Chess Championship

MANILA, Philippines – FIDE Master Alekhine Nouri and Woman National Master Mhage Gerriahlou Sebastian withstood the strong showing of their rivals from Mindanao to share the top honors in the 2021 Philippine National Juniors Chess Championship grand finals held over-the-board on Tuesday, December 7 in Quezon City. 

Relying on his vast experience, the Escalante City, Negros Occidental native Nouri collected 7 points on six wins, two draws, and one loss to top the national junior boys division ahead of Cagayan de Oro City bets Adrian Othniel Yulo (6.5 points) and Ronald Canino (6 points), who placed second and third, respectively.

Cordillera pride Sebastian from Flora, Apayao, meanwhile, battled back from a sixth-round loss to youngest qualifier Ruelle ‘Tawing’ Canino of Cagayan de Oro to rule the national junior girls level with 7.5 points.

The small but terrible Tawing, 13, who earlier stunned Sebastian in 52 moves of the English Opening, needed just a draw in her final ninth-round assignment to complete a historic finish. But she got ambushed by the white-wielding Vic Glysen Derotas to remain at 7 points and settled for the runner-up.

Derotas landed at solo third with 6 points in the 10-player round-robin affair.

“I sensed that she was already drained [right from the beginning of] the penultimate eight round where she overlooked a simple winning continuation against Bea Mendoza,” Canino’s coach and trainer Jaime Joshua A. Frias II told Rappler. “Tawing still won but after over a marathon 70 moves of the London System. Playing with much older foes is not easy, she obviously fell to fatigue.”

Tawing’s older brother Ronald Canino actually finished in a tie with fellow 6-pointer Istraelito Rilloraza of Las Piñas City, but took the third spot in the boys division with a better tiebreak results.

“I am very happy because this event is one of my dreams that I dedicate to my family,  friends, my sponsor Senator Manny Pacquiao and to God,” said Nouri, who will turn 16 on December 12.

The national juniors also served as the grand finals for the Asian Junior girls selection next year. 

Final standings

Boys Division

  • 7 points – FM Alekhine Nouri
  • 6.5 points – Adrian Othniel Yulo
  • 6 points – Ronald Canino
  • 6 points – Istraelito Rilloraza
  • 5.5 points – Jarvey Labanda
  • 5 points – Karlycris Clarito  Jr.
  • 4.5 points – Christian Marcelo Olayba
  • 3 points – AFM Johnmari Joseph Lu
  • 1.5 points – AIM Jeremiah Luis Cruz
  • 0 point – Khent Darylle Delig

Girls Division

  • 7.5 points – WNM Mhage Gerriahlou Sebastian 
  • 7 points – WNM  Ruelle Canino
  • 6 points – WNM Vic Glysen Derotas
  • 5 points – WNM Rinoa Mariel Sadey
  • 4.5 points – WNM Ma. Elayza Villa
  • 3.5 points – Bea Mendoza
  • 3.5 points – Divine Grace Luna
  • 3 points – WNM Lexie Grace Hernandez
  • 2.5 points – Jarel Renz Lacambra
  • 2.5 points – Precious Eve Ferer