Cordillera’s pride and reigning Philippine National Junior Chess champion national master Mhage Gerriahlou Sebastian is in Sardinia, Italy representing the country in the World Junior Chess Championships on Oct. 12 to 23.
Together with FIDE Master Alekhine Nouri, Sebastian will see action in the girls and open categories, respectively, in the under 20 competition featuring the best young chess masters in the world.
The 16-year-old native of Flora, Apayao earlier qualified for the world juniors when they ruled their categories in the Philippine National Junior held at the Philippine Academy for Chess Excellence in Quezon City in Dec. 2021.
The duo are the youngest members of the Philippine National Chess Team.
Jerzon Sebastian, father and original mentor of the younger Sebastian, said they are praying for the big win of the young athletes considering the level of play at the World Junior Championships.
The lady chess master is currently a grade 12 Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) student of Far Eastern University-Diliman.
“It is indeed a privilege and a rare chance to be the lone representative of the Philippines not only in Asia but also in the world chess stage,” the older Sebastian said.
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 in the last three rounds for 7.5 points and the title along with Nouri, who had seven points.
The win earned them slots to the Asian and World championships, which is expected to be played in Bangkok, Thailand on a date yet to be announced.
The young chess masters are accompanied by their coaches Susan Neri and Marlon Bernardino for the international tilt. – Ofelia C. Empian