Elle Castronuevo powers PHL to overall crown in Thailand chess

EIGHT-year-old wunderkind Elle Castronuevo showed a glimpse of her prowess as a potential future of Philippine chess as she topped all three events she joined in powering the Filipinos to the overall crown in the Eastern Asia Youth Championships in Bangkok, Thailand over the weekend.

The prodigious Imus, Cavite product blew away the competition in blitz, standard and rapid in an impressive show of force that highlighted her immense talent for a country seeking new chess heroes.

Ms. Castronuevo’s feats helped lift the Filipinos to the overall title with a mammoth haul of 32 gold, 27 silver and 22 bronze medals in the eight-day meet that drew around 200 chessers from 12 countries.

Also delivering the goods was Lexie Grace Hernandez, who reigned supreme in the standard and blitz event of the combined girls’ U16 and U18 to earn a conditional Women International Master title for her success in standard.

Christian Gian Karlo Arco, born and raised in Panabo del Norte who now plays for Dasmariñas City, topped the boys’ standard U14 to gain a FIDE Master title.

Another prodigy is eight-year-old Bince Rafael Operiano, who hails from Oas, Albay, also made heads turn as he ruled the U10 standard class.

Ruelle Canino won the blitz while Daren dela Cruz reigned supreme in rapid for girls U12 and U14 to help the national team bankrolled by the Philippine Sports Commission and National Chess Federation of the Philippines nail the impressive triumph. — Joey Villar