Master juniors

For the past 10 months, a chess program has proven to be more than successful, producing champions in both open and age-group chess tournaments nationwide almost every week.

This was highlighted recently by the 10 gold medals, six silver medals and six bronze medals hauled in the 2023 Batang Pinoy held last December, as well as National Master Keith Ilar’s triumph in a very strong Open tournament in Mindanao ahead of veteran masters.

King’s Gambit Online Chess School, founded by Chess Coach, Richard Villaseran, has grown leaps and bounds, with currently more than 70 players in its fold.

But it’s not just the number of players but the quality of players that proves the soundness of the program.

The training program boasts of the country’s top junior and kiddie players led by National Masters Keith Ilar, John Cyrus Borce, Michael Jan Inigo, Al-Basher Buto, Oshrie Jhames Reyes, Karlycris Clarito, Woman National Master Antonelle Racasa, equally strong top junior players Vincent Ryu Dimayuga,  Jeremy Marticio, Jersey Marticio, Pat Ferdolf Macabulos,  Chester Acuyong, Tiv Omanagay, Christian Mendoza, Jian Carlo Rvera, Mark Azaola, Muellene Ymber Babao, Sumer Oncita and Stephen Quinto.

King’s Gambit Online Chess School is also training top youngsters, such as  8-year-old John Kristoff Bautista, as well as Artjoe Capatan, Marco Sanido, Daren Corro (all 7-year-old). 

“The depth of talent in King’s Gambit is unbelievable.  I stand by my vision and goal of producing  five national age-group champions this year and at least one Asean age-group champion this year and five fide masters and two woman fide masters (via winning Asean and Eastern Asia Age Group) next year,” said Villaseran.

And who is he eyeing to make these goals a reality?

“All of them are capable, but national masters Ilar, Buto,Borce, Inigo, Reyes, the Marticio siblings, WNM Racasa, Dimayuga, Macabulos, Oncita, Bautista, Capatan, Sanido, Corro are very good bets.  In fact, I’m looking for sponsors, as I strongly believe National Masters Ilar, Buto, Borce and Dimayuga are very capable to do well in the U14 and U16 World Cadets this year if given the opportunities,” added Villaseran.

“I’ve set big goals for the program and the players from the start.  And more importantly, we’ve continuously worked hard and stayed focused on our goals.”

Villaseran and his wards are busy preparing for upcoming national age-group competitions, which will hopefully end up with them winning and eventually competing in Asean, even world youth competitions.