Freeman Cebu Sports

Top seeds dominate Shell Cebu chess

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - No.1 seed Chris Aldritz Pondoyo outduelled fellow University of Cebu stalwart Adrian Basilgo in the sixth round then closed out with three more wins to capture the juniors crown in the Shell National Youth Active Chess Championship’s Visayas leg at SM City-Cebu last Sunday.

Pondoyo, who was half-a-point behind Basilgo halfway through the nine-round Swiss  system tournament, foiled the erstwhile solo leader with the black pieces in the sixth round then toppled Remigio Galenzoga III, Philgymn Villajuan and Marc Villarojo to wind up with 8.5 points and capture the crown in the 13-16 age bracket.

Jerish Velarde of Marie Ernestine School also emerged solo champion in kiddies play with 8.5 points while University of San Jose-Recoletos’ Jethro Esplanada finished with eight points and nipped fellow USJ-R ace Allan Pason in the tiebreak to snare the seniors title as the top seeded bets lived up to their respective billings to dominate the third leg of the five-stage circuit sponsored by Pilipinas Shell for the 24th year.

Basilgo rebounded with victories over Jeremy Tanudra, Aaron Sinining and Galenzoga to place second with eight points. Meanwhile, Natori Biazza Diaz of Sagay National High School scored 3.5 points in the last four rounds to finish with seven points. Diaz edged Jane Quiñanola and Mico Villanueva in the tiebreak to clinch third place and the lone female berth in the group in the national finals.

On hand during awards rites were Isaias Culanag Jr., Shell Marine Lubricants account manager (Philippines/Thailand/Guam), and Michael Pagaran, a Shell active chess alumnus and now a full-pledged chess trainer.

Velarde, who shared the lead with Jave Peteros after five rounds, won their sixth round faceoff then scored 2.5 points in the last three rounds to finish ahead of Arje Villarin of Cabancalan National High School, who swept his last four matches for eight points for solo second and a spot in the national finals of the annual event set Oct.1-2 at SM Megamall.

Alphecca Gonzales of Dunggoan Elementary School bounced back from a sixth round setback to Adrian De Luna by winning her last three games in the 7-12 age division and nailed the lone female slot in the grand finals.

Esplanada recovered from a third round loss to Spencer De Guzman as he won his next six games to end up on top with eight points and bag the seniors diadem. Pason matched that output with a sweep of his last four games but settled for second after the tiebreak.

Laila Nadera of University of San Carlos scored 2.5 points in the last four rounds and wound up with six points to gain the lone female spot in the 17-20 (seniors) category. (FREEMAN)

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