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Teener Arca beats IM Ceres to join 32-player lead pack of MCPL chessfest in GenSan

WUNDERKIND Christian Gian Karlo Arca is being groomed as the future of Philippine chess.

The 13-year-old Dasmariñas-based Panabo, Davao del Norte native yesterday gave a glimpse of his oozing potential after he brought down heavy favorite International Master (IM) Dragos Ceres of Moldova that ushered in the MCPL’s Manny Pacquiao International Chess Open in General Santos City.

The East Asia Under-14 champion showed his mastery of the Caro-Kann Defense in shocking the ninth-seeded, 18-year-old member of the Moldovan team that saw action in the Chennai Olympiad this year.

Mr. Arca was hoping to sustain his opening-round masterpiece as he was tackling a seasoned Filipino IM Cris Ramayrat in this nine-round tilt staking a whopping P1.14 million to the champion, the biggest purse in decades, courtesy of boxing legend Manny Pacquiao.

Mr. Arca joined a massive 32-player lead pack that included the top four seeds in Grandmasters Hovhannes Gabuzyan of Armenia, Lucas Van Foreest of the Netherlands, Vitaly Sivuk of Sweden and Pier Luigi Basso of Italy and Filipino GMs John Paul Gomez, Darwin Laylo and Joey Antonio.

Also in that huge group were IM Daniel Quizon, IM Michael Concio, Jr., IM Richillieu Salcedo III, FIDE Master Mari Joseph Turqueza, FM David Elorta, IM Ronald Bancod, IM Eric Labog, Jr., IM Rolando Nolte, FM Jeth Romy Morado, IM Kim Steven Yap, IM Ricky de Guzman and IM Chito Garma.

A total of two games each will be played daily expect for the ninth and final round on Saturday in this event organized by top officials IM Hamed Nouri and Alex Dinoy and backed by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines, the Philippine Sports Commission and Philippine Olympic Committee. — Joey Villar

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