La Salle-Greenhills’ Julius Gonzales hurdled his last two matches to hold off Chris Pondoyo and capture the juniors crown in the Shell National Youth Active Chess Championship grand finals at SM Megamall Event Center on Sunday.
John Ray Batucan repulsed Clyde Arellano with the black pieces in the eighth round and despite dropping his final game to Brylle Vinluan, the University of Mindanao’s standout still took the seniors plum.
But it was Daniel Quizon who turned in the best performance in the two-day finals that drew the best of the country’s top players in various age divisions, including in the female category, as the San Miguel, Elementary School in Dasmariñas, Cavite pride downed Adrian de Luna and Mark Bacojo in the last two rounds of the kiddies play to complete a rare sweep of the nine-round Swiss system tournament sponsored by Pilipinas Shell.
Sharing the spotlight were Jerlyn San Diego of First Uniting Christian School, also in Dasmariñas, Kylen Joy Mordido of Dasmariñas National High School and La Salle’s Rowelyn Joy Acedo, who nailed the crowns in the female category in the kiddies, juniors and seniors classes, respectively.
On hand during the closing rites were GM Darwin Laylo, a former Shell Active Chess finalist and coach of Ateneo, Gerboy Ortega, vice president for Human Resources of Shell Companies in the Philippines, Shell Philippines’ vice president for Manufacturing Edward Geuss, and Melanie Bularan, Social Investment and Social Performance manager of Shell Group of Companies in the Philippines, who handed the trophies and prizes to the winners.
Gonzales, who led with 5.5 points after the first seven rounds, crushed Van Paler and Adrian Basilgo to finish with 7.5 points in the 13 to 16 age category. Pondoyo also won his last two matches against Lee Palma and Istraelito Rilloraza to clinch runner-up honors with seven points while Romeo Canino, who beat Basilgo and Earl Mantill, placed third with 6.5 points.
Mordido won over Francois Magpily but lost to Carl Sato in the final round to finish with four points and nail the girls’ juniors diadem, edging Natori Diaz, who had 3.5 points, and Magpily, who wound up with three points.
Batucan’s closing win-loss effort proved enough to net him the 17-20 title with 7.5 points as he foiled Diego Caparino, who defeated Daniel Borinaga and Jethro Esplanada for second with seven points while Eliseo Budoso wound up with six points and nipped Lawrence Magura for third place in the tiebreak.
Acedo also rallied with two victories, dismantling Janes Caingles and erstwhile leader Laila Nadera to snare the female seniors title with 4.5 points, nipping Nadera, who ended up with four points in the event sanctioned by the National Chess Association of the Philippines.
San Diego, meanwhile, rebounded from an eighth round loss to Clyde Saraos with a final round draw with Arje Villarin as she finished with four points, half-a-point ahead of Alphecca Gonzales, for the kiddies girls’ diadem.