ONE of the dreams of FIDE Master Alekhine Nouri was to become a national juniors champion someday.

He has moved four games closer from realizing it.

Mr. Nouri, 15, downed Khent Darylle Delig to share the lead with Adrian Othniel Yulo with four points each after five rounds of the Philippine National Juniors Chess Championships at the PACE building in Quezon City on Sunday night.

Although tied with Mr. Yulo, Mr. Nouri owns the upper hand as the latter had beaten the former the round before.

Mr. Nouri could clinch the title if he keeps up with Mr. Yulo until the end.

In the girls’ side, Mhage Gerriahlou Sebastian outlasted Jarel Renz Lacambra to remain undefeated and on top with five points.

Ms. Sebastian, a 15-year-old Far Eastern University stalwart, also stamped her class over Precious Eve Ferrer, Ma. Elayza Villa, Divine Grace Luna and Lexie Grace Hernandez in the first four of this nine-round tournament.

A point behind her was 13-year-old sensation Ruelle Canino, who downed Lexie Grace Hernandez.

Mses. Sebastian and Canino were facing off in the sixth round at press time and the result could decide who between the two could win this event supported by Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William Ramirez, National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) president Butch Pichay, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Abraham Tolentino and Chess Movement, Inc. chairman. — Joey Villar