The country just had its very first female chess national master in a 10-year-old resident from Pasig.
The National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) conferred the title on Nika Juris Nicolas on June 9. The title is typically given to male players of the sport that's male-dominated to begin with.
The NCFP in a Facebook post noted that Nicolas was the only female participant in the Boys Under 11 Division of the National Youth and Schools Chess Championships Grand Finals in Dapitan City in Zamboanga del Norte from June 2 to 9. She won medals in all categories, including a silver in standard, a silver in blitz, and a bronze in rapid.
The NCFP also took note of Nicolas's previous achievements.
She emerged as the champion in the Under 11 Boys Division of the NCFP National Eliminations in Himamaylan City in Negros Occidental last March.
The federation said it's quite uncommon for women to compete in open divisions since it is usually preferred that they join the separate division for women. The World Chess Federation, it noted, maintains separate titles for boys and open categories. Chess titles for men are also considered higher in value.
"Her exceptional performance in the boys' division is truly noteworthy," the NCFP said of Nicolas, "and she has now secured her place in Philippine chess history as the country's first and only National Master who is female."
Nicolas is set to compete in the ASEAN Age Group Chess Championships, which will be held in Bangkok in Thailand from June 17 to 27.
"Nika's historic accomplishment as the first and only female National Master in the Philippines," the NCFP said, "breaks societal barriers and challenges the notion of male dominance in chess."