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San Diego tops nat’l chessfest

Woman International Master Marie Antoinette San Diego crushed April Joy Claros in 33 moves of a Queen’s Gambit Accepted in the 11th round to capture her breakthrough title in the Philippine National Women’s Chess Championships presented by Nova Wellness Store on Wednesday at the PACE.

San Diego, 23, capped what had been a dream performance as she finished with an undefeated score of 10.5 points on 10 victories a solitary draw to capture her very first national crown that went with a cool P50,000 purse courtesy of Nova president Travis Vincent Chua.

So impressive was the Dasmariñas City bet she had already topped the event as early as the penultimate round when she outclassed Bea Mendoza in 33 moves of a Sicilian battle.

With the title already in the bag, San Diego still went for the kill and blasted the promising but still inexperienced Claros into submission with another display of her penchant for a clinical attacking game.

What made her victory special was her victims included former national title-holders and Olympiad teammates Woman Grandmaster Janelle Mae Frayna and WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda.

The top-seeded Frayna settled for a timid 33-move draw with fellow national team mainstay WIM Bernadette Galas in 30 moves of a French duel to seal No. 2 with eight points and pocket P30,000.

Vic Glysen Derotas, a former national junior girls champion, turned back Franchesca Largo in 32 moves of yet another French duel and then edged Fronda via win-over-the-other tiebreaker to seal third and P20,000.

Fronda, who flattened Bea Mendoza’s Caro-Kann Defense in 34 moves, settled for No. 4 and P10,000 in this event backed by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines, the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee.

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