WORLD CHESS:  PROMISING  NINE-YEAR OLD  CHESSER  VIES  IN   WORLD TIFF

DAGUPAN CITY,  August 4, 2004
 
(STAR)
Barely a year after learning to play chess, nine-year-old Prince Mark Aquino of San Nicolas, a town in the eastern part of Pangasinan, gets the rare chance to compete with the best talents in the world when he sees action in the World Youth Age-Group Chess Championships slated in Athens, Greece in November.

Aquino, a Grade 4 pupil at the West Central School in San Nicolas, made the grade in a recent national qualifier and will represent the country, together with Charden Cheradee Camacho, a native of Caba, La Union, in the 10-under bracket of the world tilt.

"Mark’s fundamentals are sound, pati opening at basics niya solid, agresibo, at umaatake," said Fidel Fernandez, president of the Pangasinan Stallion Chess Club, after he was held to a draw by Aquino.

Since playing the sport last year, Aquino has shown a lot of promise in his games. In fact, he has only lost once, prompting his father, Ricardo, and Fernandez to say that he could be a future champion.

"Malayo pa ang mararating niya dahil ‘yung level of thinking niya mataas," Fernandez said.

Asked what he wanted to have at this stage, the young Aquino said he wants to have a computer where he can browse and see for himself the other chess geniuses like him from the other countries like Russia, China, and Vietnam.

"Malaki ang maitutulong ng computer kay Mark at naniniwala kami dahil may photographic mind siya," said Roger Alcantara, Aquino’s chief backer and manager.

Alcantara said Aquino’s father is only a tricycle driver and could not afford to buy a computer for his son.

National Master Edgar Tullao, from Tayug and who serves as the trainer for Aquino, said the boy has the potential to become a grandmaster someday. He added that they were scheduled to meet with Pangasinan government officials yesterday. The provincial government of Pangasinan has its sports program called the Camp Victory Pangasinan where it trains potential sports athletes and players. — Cesar Ramirez


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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