Lady chess master from Apayao off to Italy for world junior chess championships

BOARD MASTER. National Master Mhage Sebastian is flying to Sardina, Italy for the World Junior Chess Championships on October 10-24 to represent the country in the girl’s side. FIDE Master Alekhine Nouri will be the Philippine bet in the boy’s side. The two won the national chess championship in December last year. Here, Sebastian is seen receiving her award as Media for Sports Development chess player of the year in last February’s awards at the Baguio athletic bowl. She is seen getting her award from MSD’s Miguelito Velarde, Jr., right, councilor Levy Lloyd Orcales and city sports development officer Gaudencio Gonzales (left). Neil Clark Ongchangco

Apayao’s wunderkind and National Master Mhage Gerriahlou Sebastian is off to Sardinia, Italy with FIDE Master Alekhine Nouri as they represent the Philippines in the girl’s and boy’s sides of the World Junior Championships on October 10 to 24.

The two young chess talents earned the ticket to the world championships after ruling the National Juniors Chess Championships held in Quezon City early December last year.

“Yes, she is flying but is awaiting for her Visa, but definitely on October 10,” said Sebastian’s father Jerzon, an employee of the municipal government of Flora, Apayao who recently passed the Bar exams, in Filipino.

The older Sebastian, who was Mhage’s original mentor, told this writer: “Even considering the strength or level of this tournament, as parents, we are praying that Mhage performs very well and shall reign supreme and hold very high the banner of Apayao and the Philippines.”

The Grade 12 Sebastian will be flying with head coach Susan Neri and NM Marlon Bernardino, the assistant coach and a contributor to national papers on chess.

Far Eastern University – Diliman wrote a post on Facebook, wishing Sebastian the best: “The Tamaraw community is rooting for your win. We are proud of you, Mhage!”

The young Sebastian, who was named by the Media for Sports Development as chess player of the year, lost in the sixth round of the 2021 nationals to the youngest player, 13-year old Ruelle “Tawing” Canino, but bounced back uint he last three rounds for 7.5 points and the title along with Nouri, who had seven points.

The win, FEU men;s team coach and national coach Jayson Gonzales, a Grand Master, earned them slots to both the Asian and World championships. The Asian Championships is expected to be played in Bangkok, Thailand on a date yet to be announced. Pigeon Lobien



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