LUNA, Apayao – Apayao chess prodigy Mhage Gerriahlou Sebastian delivered another outstanding performance in the 15th Malaysian Chess Festival after clinching second place in the Rapid Age-Group Chess Championship held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on August 17-28, 2018.
Sebastian, 12, a consistent ASEAN Age Group Chess Championship medalist, bagged the silver medal as she pocketed four points out of six outings in the 14-under girls category.
She has also displayed an impressive feat as one of the youngest top finishers in the 13th IGB Berhad Malaysia Chess Challenge by beating older, higher rated opponents, who are mostly men, totaling 193 from different countries in Asia. She amassed 169.5 ELO rating points which is considered to be the highest in the field.
The Provincial Government of Apayao, through the leadership of Governor Elias C. Bulut, Jr., recognized and commended the accomplishments of Sebastian in chess. As a sports enthusiast himself, Bulut has previously vowed to institutionalize sports programs which will benefit performing athletes of Apayao.
In a courtesy call made by Sebastian, Vice Governor Remy Albano along with the Sangguniang Panlalawigan members during their regular session on September 4, acknowledged Sebastian’s efforts and strong determination in giving honor to the province despite the limited resources of the family. She was accompanied by Flora National High School teachers Eleanor Tabuena and Jamaica Ramos along with her spiritual mentor Ptr. Reuben Armandico.
In return, Sebastian and her family expressed their utmost gratitude to the Provincial Government of Apayao and all those in one way or another extended their support in Sebastian’s international campaign in her quest to get a full pledged Master title. In 2015, Sebastian was awarded an outright Woman Candidate Master in Singapore after bagging the gold medal in the standard category.
Sebastian plans to continue her participations in international tournaments and her next stop will be in Thailand and Hongkong if there would be kindhearted individuals who are willing to sponsor her travel expenses.
Before competing in Malaysia, Sebastian captured another silver medal in the girls 14 years old under Blitz Games in 19th ASEAN Age Group Chess Championship held in Davao City last June. Sebastian was one of the only two representatives of Apayao who made it to this prestigious competition. Sebastian’s teammate, Krizza Mae Biggayan of Sta. Marcela, Apayao, competed in the girls 16 years old category.
Sebastian in her elementary years was a consistent Cordillera Administrative Regional Athletic Association (CARAA) Meet gold medalist and Palarong Pambansa player. She is expected to lead once more the Chess players of Apayao in the upcoming 2019 CARAA Meet where Apayao will be the host province.
By: GERRIAHZON S. SEBASTIAN