PHL youth chessers win 4 titles

SINGAPORE – The country’s youth brigade ended the year with a bang in the Singapore International Chess Festival at the Jurong East Sports Complex.

They won four of the eight age groups slated in the weeklong event that ended on Saturday (Dec. 31, 2011) to highlight the country’s participation here.

Vince Angelo Medina halved the point with Jodi Setyaki Azarya of Indonesia to finish with 7.0 points and capture the Open Under-17 title; Michelle Yaon split the point with Sushmitha G of India to finish with 6.5 points in eight games and complete a wire-to-wire win in the Girls U-17; FIDE Master Paulo Bersamina capped the country’s domination in the Open U-14 with a victory against Ooi Zhi Yang of Singapore to finish with 8.0 points and run away the title with a full point margin over compatriot Jerad Docena; and Dennis Gutierrez III scored a crucial victory over Jiddan Firman of Indonesia to top the Open U-8 division with 8.0 points. A draw would have relegated him to second place behind seventh round tormentor Daniel Choo of Singapore.

“Magandang senyales ito para sa mga young chess players natin. They showed na kaya nilang makipagsabayan and manalo in international competitions,” said National Chess Federation of the Philippines chairman/president Prospero “Butch” Pichay, Jr.

The NCFP in collaboration with the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) made the trip possible for the Philippine delegation.

Meanwhile, Grandmaster Richard Bitoon finished tied for second in the 2nd ASEAN Men Campomanes Cup along with GM Susanto Megaranto of Indonesia and Internatioal Master Nguyen Van Huy of Vietnam. They finished with 6.0 points, just behind champion Vietnamese GM Cao Sang’s 6.5 points.

There were disappointments elsewhere.

Woman FIDE Master Marie Antoinette San Diego failed to live up to her top billing in the Girls U-14 and finished with only 5.0 points in the nine-round event, two points behind winner WFM Najiha Hisham Nur of Singapore and even half point lower that compatriot Shania Mae Mendoza.

Veterans Alex Milagrosa and Arlan Cabe also put up disappointing efforts in the final round of the 8th Singapore Open.

They needed only to hold their respective opponents into a draw to hand reigning national junior champion Mari Joseph Turqueza the title. But they crumbled under pressure with Milagrosa losing to GM Eldar Gasanov of Ukraine and Cabe bowing to FM Andrean Susilodinata of Indonesia.

Turqueza, who beat Singapore-based Filipino Robert Suleo, Jr., ended up third after the tiebreak. Susilodinata won the title followed by Gasanov.

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