Promising chess player Al Basher Buto won the first gold medal for the Philippines in the 18th Asean Age-Group Chess Championship being held in Kuantan, Pahang in Malaysia.
Buto was undefeated in seven games, good enough to secure the top honors in the boys’ eight-under division of the tournament sanctioned by the International Chess Federation.
He stunned three seeded foes namely top seed Lai Hong Jun of Malaysia in the fifth round, third seed Adnan Habibur Rahman of Malaysia in the sixth round and seventh seed Filipino Vincent Ryu Dimayuga in the seventh round.
Buto also outclassed compatriot Ruslan Pamplona in the opening round, Syed Hashim Azmi Syed Firdaus of Malaysia in the second round, Wicaksana Muazzam Bilal of Indonesia in the third round, and Kavin Mohan in the fourth round.
Also expected to win medals for the Philippines are Mecel Angela Gadut, Kaye Lalaine Regidor, Ruelle Canino, Daren Dela Cruz, Antonella Berthe Racasa, Cedric Kahliel Abris, Karlycris Clarito Jr. and Jerlyn Mae San Diego.
With one more round left, Gadut and Regidor are sharing the top spot in the girls’ eight-under, Canino holds the lead in the girls’ 10-under, Abris and Clarito are in a two-way tie for second in the boys’ 10-under, San Diego is leading in the girls’ 12-under.
Also eyeing medals are Michael Concio Jr., Mark Jay Bacojo and Gabriel John Umayan (boys’ 12-under), Regina Catherin Quinanola, Alphecca Gonzales and Blanche Bongato (girls’ 14-under), Daniel Quizon and Justine Diego Mordido (boys’ 14-under), Kylen Joy Mordido, Bea Mendoza and Quinnie Samarita (girls’ 16-under), Christian Mark Daluz and Gal Brien Palasigue (boys’ 16-under), Venice Vicente, Ynna Sophia Canape and Allaney Jia Doroy (girls’ 20-under), and Brylle Gever Vinluan and Jeth Romy Morado (boys’ 20-under).
EMIL C. NOGUERA