MARIE Antoinette San Diego has been dreaming of becoming national champion since childhood.
The search for the 23-year-old Dasmariñas-based Woman International Master (WIM) could be over in a couple of days.
Ms. San Diego escaped the upset axe from Franchesca Largo with a 33-move draw of a Queen’s Pawn London System to continue to lead the way after eight rounds of the Philippine National Women’s Chess Championship presented by Nova Wellness Store at the PACE yesterday.
In a wild game filled with sacrificial attacks, Ms. San Diego went from winning to losing after Ms. Largo gave up a knight that sent the Olympiad veteran scampering for safety in an inferior position.
In the end, Ms. Largo couldn’t see the winning line and settled for a draw via perpetual check.
If Ms. San Diego, who faces Woman FIDE Master Shania Mae Mendoza, Bea Mendoza and April Joy Claros in the last three rounds, could sustain the charge, she would claim her very first national women’s crown after several tries.
At distant second with 6.5 points was Woman Grandmaster Janelle Mae Frayna, who was held to a marathon 74-move standoff by Mary Joy Tan of a King’s Indian Attack, while at third with six points was Vic Glysen Derotas, who stunned former national champion WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda in 35 moves of an English Opening. — Joey Villar