Ilonggo chess wiz places third in UAAP

Ilonggo pride! Iloilo’s chess wizard notched third place in the UAAP (Marigold Escutin)

By: Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

Eager to learn and play with the chessboard his older brother brought home, a 6-year old Diomel John Escutin quickly got hooked on the game, its pieces and complex moves.

After that day, his curiosity toward the sport became a passion. There wasn’t a day when he would not sit in front of a chessboard and just play.

Escutin then started to train intensely, most of the time doing self-practice and dueling friends and his brother, and it became a stepping stone in reaching his success.

A proud Ilonggo hailing from Barrio Obrero, Lapuz, Iloilo City, Escutin is the youngest son of Marigold F. Escutin and Diosen E. Escutin.

With his chess skills and improving quickly, Escutin was once awarded as the best chess athlete under 8-years old in the Shell National Active Youth Championship and placed 11th overall out of the hundreds of participants of all age brackets.

Continuing to chase his passion for the sport, Escutin then excelled furthermore in his secondary years in the PAREF Westbridge School, Inc.

From 2016-2018, Escutin and his team clinched two gold medals and one silver during the National and Regional PRISAA, the recent SEA Games, and was selected to be a member of the Philippine team Visayas leg.

As he reached college, the accolades continued for Escutin after being tapped by the De La Salle University in Manila as part of their varsity team in chess.

Escutin, now representing DLSU, placed third in the recent UAAP Season 82 Chess tourney behind FEU and UP.

The Ilonggo then took UAAP by storm, making his name in national chess as a first-year BS in Civil Engineering student.

All those years playing by himself and soaking up knowledge about the game paid off.

“All I can say to those who aspire to pursue their passion for chess is to always focus on the game and take one step at a time when it comes to training. It really takes time to improve, and it is vital to be consistent. The one thing that somehow makes chess distinguishable from all the other sports is that it requires a great deal and amount of time of studying the theories and techniques by yourself. So one has to pour enough attention on the game if he wants to learn effectively. And of course, it is important also to put your heart and mind on the board, and enjoy the game! I would like to thank my friends, coaches, my fellow teammates, and my family for being there always and for providing the guidance I need. Maraming salamat sa lahat at inaalay ko itong tagumpay na ‘to sa inyo!” Escutin told the Daily Guardian in an interview.