JANUARY 2, 2007
(STAR) By Eva Visperas - This child chess prodigy, who started playing the game at the age of three, made it again in another competition abroad after she went home with a silver medal in the second Asian Schools Chess Festival held Dec. 18-23 at the ASEAN Chess Academy in Singapore.

Samantha Glo Revita, 7, said she’s "very, very happy" she was able to give another medal which her mom Gloria asked as a Christmas gift before she headed for the competition.

"Alay ko ito kay Mama Gloria kasi sabi niya sa akin ang gusto niyang regalo mula sa akin sa Pasko ay medalya (I dedicate this to Mama Gloria because she told me she wanted a medal as my gift to her this Christmas)," she said.

At least 12 Asian countries participated in the competition. There were six representatives from the Philippines and only two of them were sponsored by the Philippine government.

In the under-7 years standard category where she was the country’s lone representative and was also the other one sponsored by the Philippine government (the other was UE student Paulo Bersamina, who also went home with the silver medal in under-9 category), she played against contestants from China, Vietnam, India and Singapore. The Indian representative won the gold medal.

The young Revita was honored in a parade around the poblacion here Dec. 30 as part of the town’s Rizal Day celebrations.

Samantha, who started playing chess at a very young age of three, learned the virtues of discipline and proper time management.

She plays chess at least one hour daily either before or after she reviews her lessons. Her mom, who is a teacher, attends to her academics while her Papa Sammy, an engineer, develops her knowledge of the game.

Her father revealed that part of her training is playing chess blindfolded while he dictates moves made by her opponents to further sharpen her tactical skills.

But Samantha says she’s like any ordinary child who loves children’s games. And since she has to enjoy her Christmas break, too, she will resume her regular practice after the holidays.

This second child in a brood of three says she plays with her mom’s students. She also excels in academics as a pupil in Rosales North Central School where she finished at the top of her class in kindergarten last year.

In fact, a day before she flew to Singapore, she competed in a quiz bee in mathematics and landed fourth in the division level in Binalonan, Pangasinan.

Sam, as she is called by her family and friends, dreams to be in the mold of Garry Kasparov, the youngest-ever world champion. But she also wants to be a stewardess someday.

"She was not afraid. I was the one who was too worried because I couldn’t get near her during the contest," Sammy, who accompanied Sam in Singapore, said.

Sam has already earned three international medals — one in this Singapore stint and two from the seventh ASEAN Age Group Chess Championship held June 11-20 last year in Indonesia where she had bronze in standard chess (three hours) and a silver in blitz chess (five minutes).

In August last year, Samantha was champion in the Cluster Zone Meet in her hometown of Rosales. On Oct. 7-8, 2005, she dominated the Private Schools Athletic Association (PRISAA) Zone 3 Meet in Sta. Maria town, and later the PRISAA Pangasinan 2 Division Meet in Binalonan.

Early this year, she emerged champion again in the Pangasinan 2 provincial meet in Mangaldan. She, however, placed second in the Ilocos Region Athletic Association held in Lingayen March 20-24, having lost to a grade five student by a mere .5 point.

She got her vindication when she wrested the championship crown of the National Age Group Chess Championship (Under 8 years) in Mandaluyong last June when she was barely six years old.

"Talagang parte na ng buhay niya ang paglalaro ng chess. Kasama na yan sa 24 hours na ikot ng mundo niya araw-araw (Playing chess has become part of her life. It’s been part of her 24-hour daily routine)," the proud father said.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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