Claros shocks Polish ace in FIDE World Cadets

Published December 20, 2020, 1:46 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

April Joy Claros stunned third seed Martyna Starosta of Poland in their “Armageddon” tiebreak game to gatecrash into the quarterfinals of the girls’ Under-14 FIDE World Cadets and Youth Rapid Chess Championships Sunday.

Seeded only 14th out of the 16 who made it to the knockout phase, the 13-year-old Claros beat Starosta in the second of their two-game duel to knot the count at 1-1 all and then won the deciding game with the black pieces in 55 moves of a Caro-Kann Defense to complete the shock win and advance to the quarters.

It was a strong victory for Claros, who made it to the tournament via wildcard entry.

The incoming sophomore at Far Eastern University-Diliman was never expected to make it this far after losing the lone spot in her division to Samantha Umayan in the national qualifier two weeks ago.

But as fate would have it, the country was given several wildcard berths and Claros was one of those recipients of the slot upon the nomination of national women’s team coach Grandmaster Jayson Gonzales.

Claros was battling Indonesian Laysa Latifah, who made it through after shocking Indian Woman FIDE Master Varshini M Sahithi, 1.5-.5, in their round-of-16 showdown.

Michael Concio, Jr. wasn’t as fortunate as he yielded to Chinese Renjie Huang, 2-0, in a game that the National Chess Federation of the Philippines questioned on suspicion of an alleged use of engine assistance.

It was still being deliberated at press time by organizers.