Young PH chess players rule Eastern Asia tourney

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Young PH chess players rule Eastern Asia tourney

YOUNG CHAMP. Elle Castronuevo shows her trophies and medals won after ruling the blitz, rapid, and standard chess crowns at the Eastern Asia Youth Chess Championship in Bangkok.


The Philippines captures the overall championship with a total of 12 golds in individual blitz, rapid, and standard play of the Eastern Asia Youth Chess Championship

MANILA, Philippines – Young Philippine chess players won their age group and obtained FIDE titles in the standard chess category in the Eastern Asia Youth Chess Championship in Bangkok on Saturday, November 12.

Christian Gian Karlo Arca topped the under-14 and gained a Master title while towing Ivan Travis and John Cyrus Borce to a 1-2-3 finish.

Lexie Grace Hernandez bagged the under-18 crown and took a Woman International Master title while April Joy Claros got second but was the top under-16. Claros took a Woman Master title and one Woman International Master norm.

Jemaicah Mendoza took the girls under-12, earning a Woman Master title. 

Bince Rafael Operiano, a nine-year-old from Albay, took the boys under-10 crown after beating Galt Naran-Undrakh of Mongolia to force a four-way tie for first. Operiano beat the Mongolian and two other Vietnamese on tiebreak. Operiano got the Candidate Master title.

Third grader Elle Castronuevo of Imus Pilot School dominated the girls’ under-8 division, taking the blitz, rapid, and standard chess categories, recalling the feat of Al-Basher Buto, who placed second in the boys under-12, during the 2017 ASEAN Schools Championship. Her sister Deanna joined forces with Nika Juris Nicolas and Cyreine Jean Borce to take the under-10 team title.

The Philippines emerged overall champions with a total of 12 golds in individual blitz, rapid, and standard play and 20 golds in the team event of these three categories,

Obtaining the Candidate Master title were Al-Basher Buto and Davin Sean Romualdez (boys under-12) and John Cyrus Borce (boys under-14).

Gainers of the Woman Candidate Master title were Nicolas (second, girls under-10), Ruelle Canino (first, girls under-14), Kaye Lalaine Regidor (girls under-14), Nathalie Liscano and Francesca Largo (girls under-16).

Those who got their FIDE titles must secure the required Elo rating to make it official, the National Chess Federation of the Philippines said.

Elle’s mother, Abigael, said her daughter learned to play chess when she was five to six years old. She was taught by Abigael’s brother, Franz Robert Grafil, the former La Salle board 1 player. 

“Since they can’t go out, Franz (who works as a chess coach in Singapore), asked them to solve (chess puzzles),” the mother said.

Elle won the blitz and rapid events without a loss while taking standard chess with a score of 7/9.

“We were super surprised and we did not expect she could sweep the events,” said Abigael, who added that her daughter won a “surprise award” as Best ASEAN Player.

Others who won awards as top ASEAN players were Mendoza in the under-12 girls, Canino in the under-14 girls, Arca in the under-14 boys, Claros in the under-16 girls, and Janmyl Tisado in the under-18 open. –

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