Nephtali Batucan and Exiquila Apao clobbered their respective opponents in the penultimate round to grab the solo lead in the on-going National age-group chess championships held at the elegant Robinson's Place in General Santos city.
Batucan, the pride of Davao city clobbered Michael Gastala of Koronadal city in the 4th round before finishing Diego Abraham Claro of Madaue city in the 5th round to lead the Boys under 20 divisions with perfect score of five points.
Apao the brilliant chess queen of Davao city, easily sweep his 4th and 5th round opponents namely: Rose Irene Aldovino of Bukidnon and Kimberly Ladan of host General Santos city to remain on top with 4.5 points in the Girls under 20 sections going into the final round of the 4-day chess competition.
Both Batucan and Apao are assured of a slot in the grand finals in Taguig city in April.
Organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) and sponsored by Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel thru the initiative of Congressman Neri Javier Colmenares of Bayan Muna, the Mindanao age-group chess event is a qualifying tournament to select the country's representative in the ASEAN Age-group plus in Bangkok, Thailand.