John Ray Batucan to participate in the World Youth Chess Championship 2008

WYCC 2008 in Vietnam

TWELVE-year-old John Ray Batucan is ready to do battle for yet another shot at glory for the Philippines when the 2008 World Youth Chess Championships unfolds on October 20 to 31 in Vietnam.

Batucan, a sixth-grader at Don Juan dela Cruz Elementary School in Toril, Davao City, said he had been training the past four months for the tournament.

I’ve been practicing with the computer but I can’t predict to become champion again. I’ll just really do my best),” he said during the Davao Sportswriters Association (DSA) Forum at the Tower Inn yesterday.

Batucan, a son of taxi driver Neptali Batucan, Jr., captured two gold medals in boys 12-under individual and team standard events of the 9th Asean Age-Group Chess Championships in Danang, Vietnam last June.

The Dabawenyo ace, who will be coached by Filipino International Master (IM) Ildefonso Datu in Vietnam, said he and 10 other Filipinos will be up against the best and finest woodpushers in the world, including those from powerhouse Russia.

He later told Sun.Star Davao in an interview, “The Asean tournament is far different from the World Youth. It will be a very challenging experience for me. But I’ll give my best all the same.”

Father Neptali, on his part, said his youngest son had been exposed in different tournaments since he came home from the Asean meet.

Playing in various tournaments here helped him in his preparations. He even has a game left Thursday night in Toril. He hasn’t only competed with players of his age-group but also with older and veterans,” the proud dad shared.

He and fellow Davao player Rowelyn Joy Acedo of Jose Maria College will play the 11-round Swiss System format chess fest.

Batucan is set to leave for Manila tonight and then depart with the Team Philippines on Sunday.

His World Youth Chess stint is backed up by National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) president Prospero “Butch” Pichay, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte and Engr. Enrico Vanta of Chadric Builders.

A handful of Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) members, led by Vice-Mayor Inday Sara Duterte, also gave financial assistance to boost Batucan’s campaign.

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