Far Eastern University’s rising star Jeth Romy Morado captured his first chess championship as he bested Jethro Esplanada and Ahmad Ali Azote in the seniors division of the 25th Shell National Youth Chess Championships yesterday at the Music Hall of the Mall of Asia (MOA) in Pasay City.
The three finished with seven points apiece after the two-day event, the final activity of Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. (PSPC), which has sponsored the annual talent search since 1992 that produced GMs Wesley So, Mark Paragua and Nelson Mariano II.
However, as the scores were tabulated, the 17-year-old Morado had 35 SB (Sonneborn-Berger) points, followed by Esplanada with 34.50 and Azote with 34 to win the title and grand price of P30,000.
“First time ko na maka-abot sa Grand Finals, and first time din to para sa akin na mag-champion,” said Morado, who made it to the finals after placing second in the regional qualifiers in the National Capital Region (NCR).
“Isang malaking achievement para sa akin na manalo, ang pangarap ko kasi e maging Grand Master. Susubukan ko pa din kasi bina-balanse ko yung studies ko and chess,” added the Grade 12 student.
Morado finished the event with six wins, two draws against Azote from Cebu, and Batangas leg qualifier Romulo Curioso, and a loss to Esplanado, also a qualifier from the Cebu leg.
Finishing in the top 10 for the seniors category are Darry Bernardo, Jonathan Jota, Dale Bernardo, Allan Pason, Curioso, Gino Angelo Asuncion and Emmanuel Acierto.
In the juniors’ side, Kylen Joy Mordido, a 15-year-old player from Cavite, finished with 35.25 SB to rule the division as she bested Stephen Rome Pangilinan (31.25) and Julius Gonzales (27.75).
In the kiddies division, David Rey Ancheta ruled the event with a total of 40.25 SB. (Waylon Galvez)