By Jean Malanum

TOP THREE. Queen of the North chess tournament winner Precious Eve Ferrer (2nd from left) is joined by (from left) third placer Rachelle Joy Pascua, Laoag City Mayor Michael Keon and runner-up Woman National Master Mhage Gerriahlou Sebastian during the awarding ceremony at Ilocos Norte National High School gymnasium in Laoag City on Saturday (Dec. 23, 2023). The third-seeded Ferrer of Lingayen, Pangasinan defeated No. 11 hometown bet Nicole Elaiza Bulalaque in her last match. (Contributed photo)

MANILA – University of the Philippines (UP) player Precious Eve Ferrer was crowned Queen of the North chess champion at Ilocos Norte National High School gymnasium in Laoag City on Saturday.

The third-seeded pride of Lingayen, Pangasinan defeated No. 11 hometown bet Nicole Elaiza Bulalaque in 59 moves of the London System Opening in her final match.

“I am very happy with my victory because almost all of the top players in Ilocos Norte and nearby provinces as well as those from Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan joined the tournament,” the 21-year-old Ferrer, a Library and Information Science senior at UP Diliman, said.

Ferrer scored 10 points on nine wins and two draws to claim the PHP60,000 cash prize.

She also earned an outright Woman National Master title, which was confirmed by National Chess Federation of the Philippines chief executive officer, Grandmaster Jayson Gonzales.

Ferrer also defeated No. 18 Mary Kaye Gonzales (Rd.1), No. 13 Azariah Daniel Cajigal (Rd. 2), No. 24 Rachelle Joy Pascua (Rd. 3), No. 12 Elizsa Gayle Cafirma (Rd. 5), No. 25 Shantelle Marie Root (Rd. 6), No. 4 Shaniah Francine Tamayo (Rd. 8), No. 15 Crishelle Angelica Dequillo (Rd. 9), and No. 27 Jheycelle Subia (Rd. 10); and split the points with No. 2 Jallen Herzchelle Agra (Rd. 4) and No. 1 Woman National Master Mhage Gerriahlou Sebastian (Rd. 7).

Sebastian, a member of the multititled Far Eastern University team, prevailed over Princess Giovalyn Asan of Laoag City in 40 moves of London System Opening to finish second with 9 points and take home PHP30,000.

Pascua was third followed by Agra, Tamayo, Cafirma, Root, Bulalaque, Dequillo and Angelica Mae Utleg.

The 11-round Swiss system tournament was supported by Mayor Michael Keon and UP Vanguard Inc. 102nd Homecoming chair Aldwin Galapon, Philippine Sports Commission, Pag-IBIG Fund, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation and international arbiter Ricky Navalta. (PNA)