Fresh from a runner-up finish in the recent ASEAN Youth Chess Championships in Vietnam, Cagayan de Oro’s Lennon Hart Salgados drew his final round match with Richelieu Salcedo then nipped Ateneo’s Jan Garcia in the tie break to capture the junior division crown in the Shell National Youth Active Chess Championships-NCR leg at SM Mall of Asia on Sunday.
Salgados who studies at Corpus Christi High School is ranked 19th in a field of 193. He scored 1.5 points in the last two rounds, including a crucial sixth-round victory over Antonio Chavez, Jr., to top the 20-and-under category and lead two others to the grand finals of the annual event sponsored by Pilipinas Shell.
Second seed Jeremiah Alfonso sustained his fine form and trounced his last two rivals to complete a seven-round sweep of the kiddies division in the country’s longest-running, grassroots-based chess tournament working on a theme “Maglaro at Matuto, Kasama ang Chess Barkada!”
Other awardees were Charlene Suede of Letran (top female player), three-year-old Jose Cenon Presente (youngest player), Julius Gonzales (top 8-year-old), Patrick de Leon (sportsmanship) and La Immaculada Concepcion School and FEU as the most represented schools with 47 and 18 participants, respectively.
The third-seeded Garcia also halved the point with Salcedo at resumption of play then foiled Narquingden Reyes in the final round to likewise finish with 6.5 points while Jayson Mercado took third place honors with six points with victories over Rose Palomo and Gerald Ferriol.
Paulo Cristobal trampled Raffy Lobitama and erstwhile co-leader Christian Nanola to likewise finish with 6.5 points in the tournament sanctioned by the National Chess Federation of the Phils. and backed by Shell Fuels, Shellane, Shell Helix, and McDonald’s, in partnership with SM Supermalls and Paseo Reale Cagayan.
The top three placers in both divisions received fabulous prizes and gained berths in the national finals slated in October at SM Megamall.