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Canino reclaims solo lead in national women's chess tiff

MANILA, Philippines – Prodigious Ruelle Canino was supposed to be the future of Philippine women’s chess.

But after her massive victories in the Philippine National Women’s Chess Championship in Malolos, Bulacan, the 15-year-old wunderkind has continued to usher in that future to a present.

After seven rounds, the six-time Asian Age Group titlist has reclaimed the solo lead by scoring his sixth win over reigning national junior girls champion Mhage Gerriahlou Sebastian after temporarily losing grip of it following a fifth-round loss to Kylen Joy Mordido.

With four rounds left, the proud daughter of Cagayan de Oro has closed in on snatching the lone berth to the Asian Indoor Martial Arts Games in Bangkok, Thailand this November, one of the three seats to the FIDE World Chess Olympiad in Budapest, Hungary this September and the cool top purse worth P85,000 thanks to host Malolos City Mayor Christian Natividad.

And it looked like Canino wasn't slowing down.

Breathing down her neck was former champion Jan Jodilyn Fronda, who lost a piece of the lead after she was derailed by a draw with unheralded Jarel Renz Lacambra to fall from grace and into second with 5.5 points.

Mordido, a Woman Grandmaster-candidate and who momentarily stopped Canino on her tracks with that fifth-round triumph, was at No. 3 with 4.5 points following a draw with Cherry Ann Mejia.

Finally resurrected after a slow, ugly start was top seed WGM Janelle Mae Frayna, who strung together 3.5 points in the last five rounds including two straight wins in the last two over Mordido and Shania Mae Mendoza to jump into a three-way tie at No. 4 with Mejia and Mendoza.