CHESS WHIZ. Christian Gian Karlo Arca is the country's newest FIDE Master. He will compete in Thailand next month, hoping to get the first of three norms required to become an International Master. (Contributed photo)

MANILA – There's no stopping chess player Christian Gian Karlo Arca from reaching his dreams.

Arca, 14, is the country's newest FIDE Master as confirmed by the International Chess Federation, commonly referred to by its French acronym FIDE, last Wednesday.

"I am happy for my latest achievement being the current youngest FIDE Master. I will work even harder to get the International Master (IM) title. I will not waste the support given by my family and my sponsors who trust in my ability," the Dasmariñas Chess Academy player said in an interview on Thursday.

Arca improved his Elo rating to 2172 after earning 94 points from Mayor Darel Dexter Uy National Age Group Chess Championships Grand Finals in Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte last month. He was co-champion with teammate National Master Mark Jay Bacojo in the Under-18 division.

In his bid for an IM title, Arca needs to get the required three IM norms from tournaments with rated players.

The first of three IM norms is offered at the 21st ASEAN+ Age Group Chess Championship scheduled from June 17 to 27 in Bangkok, Thailand.

The second norm is at the 29th Abu Dhabi Chess Festival in the United Arab Emirates (August 14-25) and the third is at the FIDE World Youth Championships in Montesilvano, Italy (November 12-15).

"I hope to do well in this event (Thailand) and gain some Elo rating points," said Arca, a grade 8 student at Dasmariñas Integrated High School. He topped the Under-14 division of the Eastern Asian Youth Chess Championships in Bangkok, Thailand and the GM Balinas youth tournament last year.

Meanwhile, Arca will join the GMG Youth FIDE Rapid Chess tournament on May 20 on the 2nd floor of the Open Kitchen Foodhall, Rockwell Business Center in Mandaluyong City.

The competition for players 15 years old and below is organized by the Bayanihan Chess Club founded by NM Marlon Bernardino and sponsored by Thailand-based Filipino NM Gerald Ferriol.

“The goal of the event is to help our young chess players here in Metro Manila in particular, and also in the Philippines in general. We want them to become globally competitive not just in this sport but also in their daily lives,” said Ferriol, the former top player of the University of Santo Tomas chess team.

Around 100 players, including Heart Padilla of Zambales and Lira Placer of Pampanga, will see action in the tournament sanctioned by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) headed Rep. Prospero "Butch" Arreza Pichay Jr.

Padilla, a Grade 11 student at Zambales National High School, won the gold medal while Placer, a Grade 10 student at Pampanga National High School, got the silver medal during the Central Luzon Regional Athletic Association (CLRAA) secondary girls chess tournament held from April 24 to 28 in Palayan City, Nueva Ecija.

They will represent Region 3 at the Palarong Pambansa slated from July 29 to August 5 in Marikina City. (PNA)