HALKIDIKI, GREECE, NOVEMBER 3, 2003 (STAR) – The Philippines continued its rollercoaster campaign in the 2003 World Youth Chess Championships, winning some and losing some in the all-important ninth and 10th rounds at the Athos Palace and Pallini Hotels.

Led by Karl Victor Ochoa and Cindy Atayde, the Filipinos posted six wins, 10 draws and four losses in five different age categories in this tough, 11-round tournament which attracted more than 1,000 participants from a record 84 countries.

Ochoa displayed another high-level brand of chess and claimed the biggest of the Filipinos’ five triumphs in the penultimate round by beating 25th seed Sebastien Feller (ELO 2105) of France in 48 moves of the Pirc-Austrian Attack.

Ochoa, who fell to No. 17 Boris Kharhenko (ELO 2142) of Ukraine in the previous round, deviated from the book with a surprise 17. Nxc5 and gained strong positional advantage with the white pieces.

The win – the fifth against three draws and two losses – enabled Ochoa to stay in the upper half of the standings in a tie for 13th to 22nd places with 6.5 points in the boys 12 and under class going into the 11th and final round on Sunday.

More importantly, the win also put Ochoa in strong position to surpass his 6.5-point output in his first international appearance as a 10-year-old in Oropesa del Mar, Spain two years ago.

"Maganda yung panalo ni Karl sa lahat. Talagang magaling," said GM Eugene Torrre, who is also acting as head coach of the 10-player team.

Atayde drew with Yanjav Batsaya of Mongolia in the ninth round and won over Mathilde Congiu of France in the penultimate round to improve her record to 5.5 points on four wins, three draws and three losses in the girls 14 years old and under category.

Equally impressive were Oliver Barbosa, who defeated Gabriel Mazzioti of Argentina in the ninth round and drew with Matthew Cornette of France in the 10th round in the boys 18 and under; Julius Joseph de Ramos, who halved the point with Dorian Vicol of MDA and outclassed Anton Kuzin of ISC in the boys 16 and under; and Nelson Mariano III, who split the point with Li Wu of England and humbled Kanna Navin of India in the boys 14 and under.

In other results, Arianne Aguja drew with Shannon Oliver of Australia and Suzie Blackburn of Wales in the girls 18 and under; Sherily Cua lost to Maria Schone of Germany but won over Suvania Moodliar of RSA in the girls 16 and under; and Cheyzer Crystal Mendoza halved the point with Selina Koo of England and Evelien Moernaut of Belgium in the girls 14 and under.

Wesley So and Jan Jodilyn Fronda, the two youngest members of the team, dropped their matches in the ninth round and drew their games the following round.

So bowed to No. 8 seed Darius Swiercz of Poland before splitting the point with Radolasv Dimitrov of Bulgaria, in the boys 10 and under class while Fronda succumbed to Brigitte Carcedo of Colombia and drew with No. 8 Sara Vombkek of Slovenia in the girls 10 and under category.

Barbosa, Mariano and So all have six points apiece, while De Ramos has five points. In the girls category, Atayde, Mendoza and Fronda have 5.5 points each, while Cua has five points.

The leading performers so far include GM Shakhiyaz Mamdyarov of Azerbaijan, who has 9.5 points out of a possible 10 in the boys 18 years old and under; Le Quang lLiem of Vietnam and Wei Chenpang of China, who have nine points out of 10 in the boys 12 and under; and Sanan Shugirov of Russia, who has nine point sin the boys 10 and under.The two-week long tournament is being held as part of the efforts of the Greek authorities to promote the Olympic Games in Athens next year.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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