Top seed Carl Sato, No. 6 Ronald Canino and eighth-ranked Earl Mantilla hurdled their first five matches to set the pace in the juniors division. Three others shared the lead in kiddies play in the Shell National Youth Active Chess Championship Southern Mindanao leg at SM Ecoland Event Center in Davao City last Saturday.
Three players also took command in seniors category, guaranteeing a wide open battle for top honors in three divisions in the penultimate leg of the five-stage regional eliminations sponsored by Pilipinas Shell culminating in the grand finals slated on Oct. 1-2 at SM Megamall.
They stood one point clear over 14 others, led by Romeo Canino, third seed Japheth Caresosa and No. 9 Guirhem, while five players, including No. 4 Honey Buenafe, posted 3.5 points each with four rounds left in the Swiss system tournament serving as the first two legs in talent-rich Mindanao.