Filipino chess wunderkind Buto wins Jessie Villasin Cup

Published February 22, 2021, 2:17 PM

by Jeremiah Sevilla

Photo from Al Basher Buto’s Facebook page

Philippine youth chess team standout Al Basher Buto came through with an unbeaten run to emerge victorious in the 2nd Jessie Villasin Cup online chess tournament held via on Saturday, February 20. 

The 11-year-old wunderkind from Faith Christian School in Cainta, Rizal racked up five wins and two draws for six points, half a point ahead of silver finishers John Curt Valencia of Dasmariñas City, Cavite and Christian Arca of Panabo City, Davao del Norte in the seven-round rapid tilt (five minutes plus five seconds increment time control). 

Buto, who played for the national team in the 2020 FIDE Online World Cadets and Youth Rapid Chess Championships, beat Stephanie Jabagat of Puerto Princesa City, Quarl Vera Cruz of Misamis Oriental, Oshrie Jhames Reyes of Santa Rita, Pampanga, Arena GM Arca and Christian Tolosa of Imus, Cavite in the first five rounds. 

The Filipino prodigy fondly called “Basty” in the chess community then split the points with Valencia and Gabriel Ryan Paradero of Pasig City in the last two rounds. 

It was a redemption for Buto after settling for the second place behind Ivan Travis Cu of San Juan City in the inaugural staging of the Jessie Villasin Cup organized by the Mobile Chess Club Philippines Libangan Team.