LADY WOODPUSHERS. Grand Master Eugene Torre (standing, 5th from right) attends the opening ceremony of the 2019 National Women's Chess Championship at the PACE headquarters in Quezon City last Tuesday (Sept. 3, 2019). At stake in the tournament are slots to the Philippine team to the World Chess Olympiad set on Aug. 1-15, 2020 in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. (Contributed photo)

MANILA – Women International Master Mikee Charlene Suede outlasted Natori Biazza Diaz in the longest match for the day to lead opening-day winners in the 2019 National Women’s Chess Championship – Grand Finals at the Philippine Academy for Chess Excellence (PACE) in Quezon City.

Suede, the 25-year-old campaigner from the University of the Philippines, labored long and hard before squeezing out a victory over Diaz in a tensely-fought queen versus rook endgame that took more than four hours to finish.

Suede’s hard-earned triumph enabled her to join Women's FIDE Master Shania Mae Mendoza, WIM Marie Antoinette San Diego and WIM Kylen Mordido in the early lead in this 14-player, 13-round tournament.

The event was organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP), headed by president/chairman Prospero “Buch” Pichay in cooperation with the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), through chairman William ‘Butch” Ramirez.

Mendoza subdued Woman Candidate Master Mira Mirano, San Diego outclassed WFM Allaney Jia Doroy and Mordido humbled May Ann Alcantara.

Top seed WGM Janelle Mae Frayna and WIM Catherine Perena-Secopito battled to a draw, as did WIM JanJodiyln Fronda and WIM Bernadette Galas and Samantha Umayan and Rizalyn Jasmine Tejada.

At stake in the tournament are slots to the Philippine team to the World Chess Olympiad scheduled Aug. 1-15, 2020 in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.

Last Tuesday, Frayna crowned herself as the blitz tournament champion.

Frayna, who made history by becoming the country’s first-ever WGM, finished with 10.5 points out of a possible 13.

Frayna’s former Far Eastern University teammate, Mendoza, finished second, while Fronda, a three-time UAAP MVP from De La Salle University, wound up third.

Actually, Mendoza and Fronda finished with identical scores of 10 points, but the former clinched runner-up honor by virtue of a higher tiebreak score. (PR)