MONTEVILVANO, ITALY - Filipino chess talent National Master Oscar Joseph Cantela secured a significant victory in the fourth round of the FIDE World Youth Chess Championships. The event is currently taking place at the Pala Dean Martin Centro Congressi in Montesilvano, Italy, where Cantela faced local Italian player Narciso Sciole on Thursday.
According to Philippines News Agency, Cantela, hailing from Barangay San Juan Uno in General Trias, Cavite, emerged victorious after 47 moves of the Slav Defense. This win brings him to a total of 2.0 points, achieved through two wins and two losses in the tournament. Cantela, who is part of the highly successful Far Eastern University chess team under the guidance of Grandmaster Jayson Gonzales, has seen a significant rise in his ranking, moving from 55th to 88th in the boys U16 category. His next challenge will be against American player Rohan Padhye.
Other Filipino players also showed strong performances in the championships. FIDE Masters Mark Jay Bacojo and Christian Gian Karlo Arca both won their respective matches. Bacojo defeated Norway’s Mathias Unneland in the boys U18 category, while Arca overcame Lithuania’s Zanas Nainys in the boys U14 category. Additionally, Woman National Master Franchesca Largo achieved a victory against Ukraine's Tetyana Skarbarchuk in the girl's U18 category. However, some Filipino players faced setbacks, with losses recorded by Charly Jhon Yamson, Mark Gabriel Usman, Woman National Master Kaye Lalaine Regidor, Woman National Master Bonjoure Fille Suyamin, and Maureiin Lepaopao in various categories.
The Philippine team at the championships is under the coaching of Arena Grandmaster Almario Marlon Quiroz Bernardino Jr., Woman FIDE Master Shania Mae Mendoza, and Estavillo. The team's participation is supported by various sponsors, including the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), local government officials from Cavite, the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFCP), and the Philippine Sports Commission. The team's performance in this prestigious international event highlights the growing talent and potential of Filipino chess players on the global stage.