Favorites dominate Active Chess grand finals

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Top seeds Julius Gonzales,Daniel Quizon and John Ray Batucan dished out top forms to wrest control intheir respective divisions while Kylen Joy Mordido, Jerlyn San Diego and Laila Nadera took charge in the female side of the Shell National Youth Active Chess Championship grand finals at SM Megamall Event Center over the weekend.

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Gonzales of La Salle Greenhills crushed Earl Mantilla, drew with Romeo Canino and Dale Bernardo then disposed of Kylen Joy Mordido, Carl Sato and Istraelito Rilloraza before halving the point with Chris Pondoyo in the seventh round to lead the juniors category with 5.5 points.

But Sato and Pondoyo stayed within striking distance with identical five points while Canino and Van Paler posted 4.5 points each heading to the last two rounds of the nine-round Swiss system finals.

Earlier, Janelle MaeFrayna, the country’s first Woman Grandmaster and former Shell Active Chess campaigner, and Asia’s first GM Eugene Torre graced the opening of the two-day championship where they exhorted the finalists to strive for excellence.

But while Gonzales braces for a tough finish in the 13-16 age category, Quizon and Batucan have zeroed in on the kiddies and seniors crowns, respectively, with solid starts and 1.5-point cushions with two rounds left.

Quizon, a mainstay of San Miguel, Dasmariñas Elementary School, flashed superb form and swept his firs tseven matches to post a 1.5 lead over Michael Concio Jr. The top seeded Southern Luzon regional qualifier bested Alphecca Gonzales, Cedrick Gaddi, Michael Concio Jr., Grant Capilitan, Jerish Velarde, Jerlyn Mae San Diego and Chester

Reyes to move a draw away from formalizing his claim on the 7-12 crown. He faces Adrian de Luna in the eighth round.

REALYN STEVENS

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