The second leg of the National age-group chess championships fires off yesterday with the Mindanao youth and kiddies chess players vying for top honors at Robinson's Place in General Santos city.
Hosted by the city government of General Santos headed by Darlene Antonina-Custodio, the top two winners in each category will advance to the grand finals to choose the Philippine representative to the ASEAN Age –group plus chess championships in Bangkok, Thailand in June.
Organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) headed by Chairman/President Prospero Pichay Jr. The Mindanao leg is the thru the initiative and coordination of Bayan Muna Party-list Representative Neri Javier Colmenares and sponsored by Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel.
Congressman Colmenares who is also the NCFP Vice President for Visayas and Committee Chairman for Grassroots Development and Promotions is a noted Palarong Pambansa winner and an avid chess supporter while Senator Pimentel aside from a chess benefactor is also a true-blooded chess player way back in his college days.
Meanwhile apart from the participants of host city, a total of 150 wood pushers from different parts of Mindanao including Cebu, Bukidnon, Agusan del Sur, South Cotabato, Maguindanao, Kidapawan city, Butuan city, Misamis Oriental, Cagayan de Oro city, Panabo city, Koronadal city, Davao city and Cotabato city, flocked to GenSan for this prestigious event. General Santos is also known as the hometown of boxing icons as Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire.
Gracing the opening program are Cong. Colmenares, NCFP Executive Director Grandmaster Jayson Gonzales, Councilor Elizabeth Bairoy-Bagonoc and GenSan Chess Club President Fritz Baterna.
Among the top favorites in the Boys Divisions are: John Ray Batucan (U-20), Alberto Diolola Jr. (U-16), Marvin John Miciano (U-14), Charles Faith Ayon (U-12), Crisus Joshua Sarchez (U10) and Jerish John Velarde (U-8). Batucan, Diolola, Miciano and Ayon are former Batang Pinoy Finalists while Sanchez and Velarde are Shell Active chess winners.
In the Girls Section, expected to show forces are: Cristy Grace Ngo (U-20), Yna Krisha Yngayo (U-16), Laila Camel Nadera (U-14), Allaney Jia Doroy (U-12), Irish Yngayo (U-10) and Joannah Love Marie Olay (U-8). Doroy, Ngo, Nadera and the Yngayo sisters are both Batang Pinoy Finalists and consistent Shell Active chess winners.