Severino captures Orbe Chess 960 title

April 20, 2020
Sander Severino
Severino: Chess 960 champion.

FOUR-time Asian Para games champion Sander Severino achieved another milestone by winning the overall championship in the inaugural Cesar Orbe Memorial Chess 960 over the weekend.

And Severino, the 34-year'old pride of Silay, Negros Occidental, did it the hard way.

Severino topped the fifth and final leg with 9.5 points, a full point ahead of fourth leg champion GM Darwin Laylo in the online tournament organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) in cooperation with the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).

The fifth-leg win was worth five points for Severino, who rose to become one of the country's top chessers despite being diagnosed with a muscle dystrophy at a young age and confined to a wheelchair the rest of his life

Overall, Severino edged two-time winner and erstwhile series leader GM Rogelio Antonio, Jr.  by the slimmest of margins -- 13 points to 12 points.

Antonio, who topped the first and third legs, crashed out of the top three in the fifth leg of the tournanent also known as Fischerrandom Chess.

Laylo, who vaulted into contention by ruling the fourth leg last week, finished a fighting third with 11 points. 

“If a Filipino like Wesley So can be world champion in Chess 970, I think another Filipino can. I dream of becoming like him (So),” said Severino, who captured four gold medals in the Asin Para Games in Jakarta,  Indonesia in  2018.

It was the third title this year for Severino,  who topped the Chooks-to-Go tournament last January and Rising Phoenix competition early this month.

NCFP executive director Cliburn Anthony Orbe lauded the participants in the five-part online tournament.

"Thank you to everyone who joined this tournament in memory of my late father who is celebrating his 92nd birthday in heaven. This would really bring a smile on his face," said Orbe.