YOUNG and budding woodpushers in the locality get the chance to vie for the national slots as the annually-held regional eliminations of the Shell National Youth Active Chess Championships (SNYACC) unfolds on Saturday, August 12, at the first SM Mall here in Upper Carmen.
In it is more than two decades of staging the prestigious event, Shell Active Chess has produced at least three national champions from Cagayan de Oro.
Both Rustum Tolentino, now a National Master, and Bryan Jose did it in the junior division. While former Corpus Christi standout Lennon Hart Salgados, who’s now with the Philippine Air Force, took the feat in the kiddies category.
“Si Lennon ang last nag champion sa national finals and that was 10 years ago, more or less. But we’re still hopeful nga adunay makasunod sa tulo (Tolentino, Jose, Salgados) beginning with this regional qualifying leg in Cagayan de Oro,” Lorenzo "Jun" Cuizon, national arbiter, said.
A fierce battle looms in all three divisions with the top two from the kiddies, juniors and seniors divisions, plus the top female player gaining berths in the national finals slated in October.
Events on tap are the kiddies for players aged 7 to 12 (born between 2004 to 2009), juniors for 13 to 16 years old (born between 2000 to 2003) and seniors for 17 to 20 (born between 1996 and 1999) for boys and girls.
Twenty players have made it so far to the grand finals set on October 7 and 8 at SM Mall of Asia, including Francois Marie Magpily of Gen.Pio National High School, who ruled the junior division and took the female spot in the NCR stop of the circuit sponsored by Pilipinas Shell.
Meanwhile, Davao will host the next leg on Sept. 2-3 for the Southern Mindanao stage, also at SM City, before the regional elimination winds up in Cebu for the Visayas qualifier on September 16-17 at SM City.
The circuit, sanctioned by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines, is held to discover fresh talents, especially in the countryside, and develop them to become members of future national teams. It has produced top grandmasters, the foremost of which is current world No. 2 super GM Wesley So.
The event is backed by Shell V-Power, Shell Advance, Shell Rimula, Shell Helix, Shell Fuel Save, and Shell Card and held in partnership with SM Supermalls. It is open to all Filipinos, non-titled players who are bonafide students certified by their respective schools and registrars. Previous grand final winners are allowed to compete again in their respective categories provided they are still within the age limit. (With AD)