Red-hot Velarde nails third straight win in Asian Zonals chess
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Jerish John Velarde logged his third consecutive victory in the ongoing FIDE Asian Zonal 3.3 Chess Championships to rise in the rankings after round 6.
The Lapu-Lapu City chess sensation who is ranked 39th, shocked 26th seed Vince Angelo Medina in the sixth round to tally his third straight win, catapulting him from 29th to 22nd place. The young pawn pusher now has 3.5 points.
The 14-year old Velarde’s rise in the rankings is a glimmer of hope for the entire Team Cebu currently competing at the Juana Hall in Cebu Parklane International Hotel.
Before beating Medina, Velarde also downed two other Filipino woodpushers in Samantha Umayan and Arena Grand Master (AGM) Henry Lopez in the fifth and fourth rounds, respectively.
Velarde had difficulty finding his groove in the first three rounds. He lost the first and second rounds and had a draw in the third against teammate, Jave Mareck Peteros who is now at the 45th spot with 2.0 points.
Velarde will next play teammate, National Master (NM) Merben Roque in the seventh round which is currently played as of this writing.
For most of the tournament, Roque, has been team Cebu’s best performer with 3.5 points before he was overtaken by Velarde.
Roque could’ve remained as team Cebu’s top contender if not for his loss to International Master (IM) Jingyao Tin of Singapore in round 6. Thus, he now trails Velarde at the 23rd spot from 13th in round five.
Velarde is higher than Roque in the standings for accumulating the higher tie-break points even if they have identical scores of 3.5 points.
On the other hand, NM Rogelio Enriquez Jr. finally ended his two-match losing skid after beating Malaysia’s Wee Zhun Teh in the sixth round. NM Enriquez Jr. now has 3.0 points to improve from 41st to 31st spot in the rankings.
Women’s IM (WIM) Bernadette Galas lost to fellow Filipino Michael Gotel also in round six to remain with 2.5 points good for 35th place.
Peteros and Richard Natividad finished round six with draws in their respective matches. Peteros against Candidate Master (CM) Prin Laohawirapap of Thailand and Natividad against WIM Kylen Joy Mordido.
IM Michael Concio remained on top for two consecutive rounds with 5.0 points. Indonesian IM Mohamad Ervan is in second place also with 5.0 points but with an inferior tie-break score while his compatriot IM Yoseph Taher is currently in third place with 4.5 points. /rcg
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