by RONALYN BANAKEN
UB’s chess wizards (from left): Bea Mendoza, Brylle Gever Vinluan, and FM Haridas Pascua
The University of Baguio (UB) chess team is set to compete in both national and international tournaments this year.
For the second straight year, UB High School’s Bea Mendoza made it to the grand finals of the National Age Group Championship.
Mendoza, an incoming sophomore, topped the girls 14 years-and-under division of the competition’s Luzon qualifying tournament held in Naga City last March 14-16 to book her ticket in the national finals. Last year, she won the 12 years-and-under category in the same event to represent the country in the ASEAN and in the Asian championships held in Thailand and Iran, respectively.
Mendoza joins teammate Brylle Gever Vinluan in the grand finals, who will compete in the boys 16-and-under category slated on April 21-27 in Manila. Vinluan was earlier seeded to the finals by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines after winning the gold medal in the standard chess competition and the silver in rapid chess during the Batang Pinoy National Finals in Bacolod City in February, picking up the Most Outstanding Athlete award under the boys division. With such feat, Vinluan made history as the first Baguio chesser to win medals in the Batang Pinoy.
The winners in the National Age Group Championship finals will represent the country in the 15th ASEAN+ Age Group Championship on June 3-12 in Macau and in the Asian Youth Championship in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, also in June.
Moreover, four UB players have qualified for this year’s Palarong Pambansa. Mark Vincent Limocon and Janeya Carbonell (for the elementary division) and Kaissa Ancheta and Jee-ann Faye Barry (for the secondary division) will compete in the country’s biggest sports competition among elementary and high school student-athletes scheduled this April.
Meanwhile, UB’s FIDE Master Haridas Pascua – together with 20 Grandmasters, seven International Masters, and other top players from the country – will compete in the Kuala Lumpur International Open Chess Championship on April 4-11 in Malaysia.
The UB chess team is coached by Engr. Joseph Codiaman and Ronaldo Alvez of the UB Athletics Department.