The Philippines ran away with four gold medals and obtained two Fide Master titles against an elite field in the recent FIDE World Schools Championships held May 6-14 at the Dusit Hotel in Pattaya, Thailand.
The country can claim of having four World Champions as NM John Merill Jacutina, an incoming Grade 9 student at the Far Eastern University, scored 6.5 points out of a possible nine to win the boys U-15 category and clinch a FIDE Master title in the process.
Jacutina won his first three matches, lost his fourth game against Candidate Master Ng Jen Seng of Malaysia but scored three draws and two wins in the next five rounds to secure the gold medal. He added a bronze medal in the blitz category.
Not to be outdone, Kylen Joy Mordido of the University of the East finished in a three-way tie for first place with Mekanova Annagozel of Turkmenistan and Zhang Zhiao of China in the girls U-13 category with seven points to clinch the gold and likewise obtained a (Woman) Fide title.
Mordido actually finished second to Annagozel after the tiebreak, but was awarded the gold medal per tournament rules. International Master and Tromso Chess Olympiad Philippine team mainstay Paolo Bersamina, meanwhile, settled for the silver in the standard (long game) event, but won the blitz side with six points out of a possible seven.
The National University student lost only once in seven games in the blitz category to clinch the gold, Thus becoming World Champion blitz in Open under 17years old.
Woman Fide Master Shania Mae Mendoza, also of FEU, gave the Philippines its fourth gold medal in the girls’ U-17 category and claimed Philippines’ fourth World Champion in style, as she went undefeated in nine matches.
The 16-year old Mendoza won seven and drew twice — against WCM Sapane Saloni of India in the sixth round and Ovesova Mengli of Turkmenistan in the next round. She added another silver in the blitz category where she scored six points, half a point behind blitz champion Jiang Zhaoyi of China.
Other Filipino medalists were Alexis Anne Osea, an incoming Grade 11 student at Letran, who clinched the silver medal in the girls U-15 with five points, and Justine Mordido, the younger brother of Kylen, who also won a silver in the boys U-11 category in the blitz category.
Overall, the Philippines took home four gold medals, five silvers and a bronze against a tough field that included participants from chess powers, Russia, USA, China, India,England, Kazakhstan, Romania, Turkmenistan, Azerbajian, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand and among others.NCFP president and chairman Prospero Pichay, Cong. Neri Javier Colmenares NCFP Committee Chairman for grassroots development and promotions and Executive Director GM Jayson Gonzales lauded the new four world champions.
“They showed the world that the Philippines is up there among the elites. My congratulations to the winners and to all those who participated,” Pichay said.
Cong. Colmenares, meanwhile, said the result has encouraged the federation to conduct more tournaments for young and upcoming players.
“Kaya talaga nating makipagsabayan sa magagaling na chess players sa mundo. Kaya tuloy lang ang programa,” said Colmenares, and GM Gonzales thanked the continuing support of the Philippine Sports Commission under the leadership of Chairman Ricardo Garcia and the Philippine Olympic Committee President Jose Cojuangco Jr.