Wanting to meet the president, Severino becomes world champ
Snaring gold medals had become second nature to chess wizard Sander Severino.
He added another one on Wednesday after besting International Master Igor Yarmonov, a five-time world standard chess king from Ukraine, in the ninth and final round to rule the International Physically Disabled Chess Association (Ipca) World Online Chess Championship.
Beating buzzers is something new, though.
“I was savoring the moment for about 30 seconds then suddenly, power went out,” Severino told the Inquirer on Sunday.
“I’m just happy the win was registered just in time,” he said with a nervous chuckle.
The 34-year-old Fide master from Silay, Negros Occidental, collected 8.5 points on eight victories and a draw to become the first Filipino world champion of the sport.
Wesley So was crowned a world champion late last year but has been representing the United States since 2014.
Severino said he prepared long and hard for the Ipca, the inaugural Fide Online Cup for People with Disabilities last May, and the 10th Asean Para Games, which was supposed to be held here.
All that because Severino, a perennial gold winner in the sport since becoming a national athlete in 2005, has an ultimate goal.
“I still want to win some more [because] it is still a dream of mine to present a medal to the president of this country,” said Severino, who was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at 8 years old and was given only until 20 to live.
“We’ve been through a couple of presidents, but we haven’t had the opportunity to be invited to meet the President,” he added. “On top of winning tournaments, that would be up in my list.”
“It’s a chance for us differently abled persons to show that we’re capable of bringing honor to the Philippines,”
Severino last made national headlines during the 2018 Asian Para Games by delivering four of the national contingent’s 10 gold medals in the regional meet.
He said he would continue to work his way toward that goal even as a pandemic has forced the sport to migrate to the digital space.
In fact, just hours after the Inquirer interview, Severino was competing in an online contest organized by the national chess federation.
Severino said he is also slated for another international meet this July, but details of the tiff have yet to be finalized. INQ
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.