Bince Rafael Operiano, aged nine, will soon return to his hometown of Oas in the province of Albay as the champion of the just ended international chess championship Eastern Asia Youth Championship Standard Rapid Blitz (U-10) held in Bangkok, Thailand.
Operiano, a third-grade student at the San Isidro Elementary School in his hometown and a resident of the community of Busac, dominated the competition including 29 competitors from various nations, advancing through nine rounds and ultimately claiming the gold medal on Saturday.
Bince’s mother, Rosemary Roblico Operiano, 33, told the Inquirer in a chat message on Sunday, “We are really pleased of his accomplishment, the honor is not just for us but for the nation.”
Due to the fact that Bince’s father, Ben, is the sole provider for the family as a security guard, joining the competition was difficult and full of obstacles, according to Rosemary.
She stated that they were on the verge of being unable to send Bince to Thailand due to a lack of cash.
“We do not have sufficient funds to cover my son’s necessities during the competition. In reality, we solicited donations from friends and local leaders,” she explained.
She stated that the worst incident they had was when their 33-year-old son almost had to go without his father because they could not afford another plane ticket.
“However, assistance flooded in via electronic cash transfer when I posted on social media about my husband and my kid, who is extremely keen to win after learning that his father will be watching the games,” she explained.
Ben taught his son to play chess at the age of five. In a home without a television or other electronic device, chess became a father-son bonding activity and source of enjoyment.
Bince has been a constant winner in local chess competitions before to his participation in international competitions.
Rosemary said that her son began participating without adequate training or a coach when he was just 6 years old. His first competition was held at the Albay Astrodome in Legazpi City and he was crowned the champion in 2020.
Bince was able to enter and win several tournaments, according to Rosemary, because he received assistance from multiple individuals.
In 2021, Bince met Sonia Frayna, the mother of the lone Filipina grandmaster of chess, Janelle Mae, who studies at the high school campus of Divine Word College of Legazpi, where Ben works. In the same year, Frayna paved the door for Bince to participate in the National Chess Federation of the Philippines competition.