LUNA, Apayao – Three young Ilocano chess wizards coming from Ilocos Sur, Apayao and Pangasinan made it to top 3 of the 2017 National Age Group Chess Championship Grand Finals held in Cebu City last May 2-10 and, as a result, will once again be joining the Philippine Team in the upcoming ASEAN Age Group Chess Championship in Vietnam.
Small but terrible Mecel Angela Gadut, just 8 years old and an incoming Grade 3 pupil of Parioc East Elementary School, Candon City, outmaneuvered all her opponents and is the Champion in the 8 years old under girls category with a perfect score of 9 points.
The 2015 ASEAN Gold Medalist Mhage Gerriahlou Sebastian, 11, and a Grade VI pupil of Flora Central School in Flora, Apayao clinched 2nd Place in the 12 years old under girls. She has been held to four draws in her initial matches and gutted out the needed wins in her last two to grab the silver. She had a total of 11 points out of 15 games.
Meanwhile, Brylle Gever Vinluan of Pangasinan, a High School varsity of National University, got a good start and maintained it until his last game to secure 2nd place in the 18 years old and under boys. Vinluan is one of the strong woodpushers of NU in the UAAP.
Bea Mendoza and John Daryll Batula of Baguio City, among the other young talents from Cordillera Administrative Region, bravely fought but failed to land in the top 3.
The three young Ilocanos have already been into the limelight in the ASEAN and ASIAN championships abroad bagging gold medals in their respective categories and are currently considered as the promising Ilocano chess players who are capable of bringing honor not only to their own provinces but to the country as well.
The National Chess Federation of the Philippines believes that the top 3 finishers in all categories who will be competing in Vietnam will perform at their best and once more bring home gold medals for the Philippines.
According to the parents who accompanied them in the grandfinals, they are asking support from the government and other benevolent private entities as accompanying again these young talents abroad requires time, effort and considerable resources.
By GERRIAHZON S. SEBASTIAN