Unrated King Whisley Puso downed Batsukh Anand of Mongolia in the seventh and final round to rule the open Under-12 division of the Asian qualifying stage of the FIDE World Cadets and Youth Rapid Chess Championship Sunday.
Puso finished tied with Chinese Xiao Tong (QD) with six points apiece on five wins and two draws but the Sta. Rosa, Laguna native wound up with the higher tiebreak, 31-28, to claim the crown and one of the three spots in his age bracket in the world stage.
It was a phenomenal effort for someone who came into the tournament as an underdog, having been one of the two of 37 participants in the age class without a FIDE rating.
Puso upstaged some of the big guns in the competition as well as his more illustrious teammates like International Master Daniel Quizon, WIM Kylen Joy Mordido and Al Basher Buto, who were tipped to do well but never did and were eliminated.
Sharing the spotlight with Puso were Michael Concio, Jr. and wild card April Joy Claros, who made it to the final stage in the open U16 and girls’ U14, respectively.
Concio drew with second seed Pour Agha Bala Amirreza of Iran in a four-way tie for first with 5.5 points and eventually second after tiebreaks were applied while Claros downed Renganayaki V of India to end up at solo second with six points.
It was also a Cinderella finish for Claros, who was picked by national women’s team coach Grandmaster Jayson Gonzales to enter as a wildcard.