Al Basher Buto showed he deserved his spot in the Philippine team after winning his first two games to seize a share of the lead after two rounds in the qualifying stage of the 2020 FIDE Online World Cadets and Youth Rapid Chess Championships Friday.
Buto, the Cainta-based wunderkind who traces his roots from Marawi City, highlighted his feat with a victory against a higher rated Alikhan Khazhatuly of Kazakhstan to cruise to a nine-player logjam at the helm with two points.
The 10-year-old PH bet battles G Aakash of India in the third round at press time in the Open 10-under division.
With five rounds to go, all Buto needed is to stay in the top three to make it to the finals and have a chance to become the world champion in his age bracket.
He is also proving his doubters wrong after receiving criticism that he only made the squad as a wildcard.
It was an accusation that was truly undeserving since Buto dominated the first stage of the PH qualifier before faltering in the finale due to poor internet connection caused by the super typhoon that hit the country last month.
Also unscathed like Buto were April Joy Claros in the girls’ U14, Daniel Quizon and Michael Concio, Jr. in the open U16, Paul Matthew Llanillo in the premier open U18, Ruelle Canino in the girls’ U12 and King Whisley Puso in the open U12.
Quizon pulled the rug from under second seed Amirreza Pour Agha Bala of Iran while Concio stunned Renjie Huang of China to jump to a seven-player tie for No. 1 with two points each.