THE just concluded National Youth and Schools Chess Championships held in Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte produced a gem in the rough in Nathalie Liscano, who grabbed the spotlight from the favorites and topped the elite girls’ 17-and-Under.

An unrated from Midsayap, Cotabato, the unheralded 16-year-old shocked the field by snaring the crown with 7.5 points in 11 rounds despite losing to Jamelin Ruth Lim in the final round.

Angela Joelle San Luis and Ms. Lim wound up tied for second with seven points apiece but the former took the silver with the better tiebreaker in this event sponsored by Dapitan City Mayor Seth Frederick “Bullet” Jalosjos.

It was Ms. Liscano’s second victory of the year after she also reigned supreme in the online Mindanao Ladies Open last March.

In a duel between Philippine women’s chess’ future, April Joy Claros edged out fierce rival Ruelle Canino by the closest of margins to emerge the girls’ U15 division winner.

Both Mmess. Claros and Canino, who drew their match, ended up tied in the first tiebreakers used before the fifth tiebreak that adjudged Ms. Claros the winner was applied and decided it all.

Other winners were Jerish John Velardo (U17), John Cyrus Borce (U15), Christian Gian Karlo Arca and Kaye Lalaine Regidor (U13), Oshrie Jhames Reyes and Nika Juris Nicolas (U11) and Bince Rafael Operiano and Mary Janelle Tan (U9). — Joey Villar