Apayao pride Mhage Gerriahlou Sebastian drew her last three games Sunday and coasted to a second place finish in the Philippine Sports Commission – National Chess Federation of the Philippines National Chess Championships Grand Finals at the PACE in Quezon City.
The Flora, Apayao native actually whipped up a storm in day two Saturday after she won two of her three games and drew one to make up for the opening day of 1-2 (win-loss). She wound up with six points in the 10-round grand finals won by Woman FIDE Master Cherry Ann Mejia who was almost perfect with six won games and four draws.
After beating Ma. Elayza Villa in the opening round, the 16-year old Far Easter University high school team member suffered two setbacks in the hands of the higher rated WFM Allaney Jia Doroy and Mejia.
Then she drew with Lexie Grace Hernandez on round four before beating the 13-year old Ruelle Canino, who gave her lone defeat in the Philippine Junior Chess Championship in December last year. She ended the day with her second victory over Villa and 3.5 points.
In round seven, the third seed avenged her loss to the second seed Doroy before settling with draws with the eventual winner Mejia, also the top seed, Hernandez and Canino, in that order.
Doroy took third place with 5.5, a full point off the youngest player in the field, Canino, who in turn is half a point ahead of Hernandez. Villa finished dead last with two points.
In the men’s side, International Master Rolando Nolte took a one point victory after drawing his last three games for eight points in the 11-round competition also at the PACE.
The former Baguio resident opened with victory over Arena Grand Master Nezil Arj Meriless then crushed FIDE Master Jeth Morado in the second round before settling with a draw with Philippine junior chess champion FM Alekhine Nouri.
After drawing with IM Ronald Dableo, Nolte won the next two rounds against IM Angelo Young and John Merill Jacutina.
He then halved the point with fellow IM Barlo Nadera then whipped to submission the unrated Istraelito Rilloraza in the eighth round.
Nadera is a full point behind, while Young took third place edging Nouri, who wound up with the same total, via tiebreak. Young actually defeated Nouri in the last round.
It was a long 10 day campaign for Sebastian, who failed to make it to the Philippine team in the Blitz and Rapid sides won by Woman GM Janelle Mae Frayna. The 15-year old IM Daniel Quizon took the men’s side.
After the championship, Sebastian took the bus for Baguio with mother Marilou for the Media for Sports Development 2021 Bests on Tuesday at the Baguio athletic bowl.
At 14, Sebastian joined the Philippine team in March 2020 as she now aims for the FM title this year, her father, Jerzon, posted on his Facebook page.
The bar taker earlier this month added: “For now, let’s savor what you’ve got today. For about two (2) years now, still the youngest Philippine Chess Team Member.”