CHESS will be at its finest when the two best teams in the North clash against the top two teams in the South in the 2021 Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) All-Filipino Conference.
It will be the San Juan Predators (14-1) against the Iloilo Kisela Knights (13-2). and the Caloocan Load Manna Knights (14-1) against the Negros Kingsmen (13-2) in a pair of keenly-anticipated battles at the top of the leaderboard this Saturday, Feb. 13.
The Predators, bannered by GM Oliver Barbosa and WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda, will stake their conference-best record against the Kisela Knights, led by GM Rogelio Antonio, Jr. and Cherry Ann Mejia.
The Load Manna Knights of IMs Paulo Bersamina and Jan Emmanuel Garcia face off with the Kingsmen of IM Joel Pimentel and FM Nelson Mariano III in another heavyweight battle.
Other interesting matchups will pit the Laguna Heroes, third in the North with 12-3 record, against the Lapu-Lapu Naki Warriors, fifth in the South with 8-7 mark; and the Manila Indios Bravos, fourth in the North with 11-4 slate, against Toledo City Trojans, fourth in the South with 9-6 record.
The Heroes will be led anew by GMs Rogelio Barcenilla, Jr. and John Paul Gomez, while the Naki Warriors will be topbilled by NM Merben Roque and Aldwin Daculan.
The Indios Bravos Braves will bebb spearheaded by GM Julio Sadorra and IM John Marvin Miciano, while the Trojans will be led by Rommel Ganzon and iM Rico Mascarinas.
Camarines Soaring Eagles, third in the South with 12-3 record, meet Quezon City Simba’s Tribe.
In other matches, it will be Iriga Oragons against Antipolo Cobras,Mindoro Tamaraws against Cagayan Kings, Palawan Queen’s Gambits against Isabela Knights Raiders, Surigao Fianchetto Checkmates against Cavite
Spartans, Zamboanga Sultans against Olongapo Rainbow, Cebu Coty Machers against Pasig Pirates and Cordova Dagami Warriors against Rizal Towers.
Later in the night, it will be Antipolo vs Lapu-Lapu, Laguna vs Mindoro, Cagayan vs Negros, Caloocan vs Palawan, Isabela vs Surigao, Cavite vs Toledo, Manila vs Zamboanga, Olongapo vs Camarines, Quezon City vs Cebu, Pasig vs Cordova, Rizal vs Iloilo, and San Juan vs Iriga.
Last Wednesday, San Juan posted similar 17-4 wins over Cordova and Cebu behind strong plays by Barbosa, FM Narquingden Reyes, Fronda IM Ricky de Guzman, NM Michael Gotel, Narquingel Reyes and Narciso Gumila, Jr.
The Hubert Estrella-mentored Predators outscored the Dagami Warriors, 13-1, in rapid and 4-3, in blitz; and the Machers, 7-0, in blitz and 10-4, in rapid.
Iloilo outplayed Laguna, 12.5-8.5 (5.5-1.5 in blitz and 7-7 in rapid) and Antipolo, 18-3 (5-2 blitz and 13-1 rapid) to set the stage for a much-awaited showdown against San Juan.
The 24-team pro chess tournament is organized by PCAP, headed by President-Commissioner Atty. Paul Elauria; Chairman Michael Angelo Chua; and treasurer Atty Arnel Batungbakal.
The games are sanctioned by the Games and Amusements Board (GAB), headed by Chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra.
After 15 rounds
San Juan 14 1
Caloocan 14 1
Laguna 12 3
Manila 11 4
Rizal 9 6
Cavite 8 7
Isabela 6 9
Pasig 6 9
Antipolo 5 10
Olongapo 4 11
Quezon City 3 12
Cagayan 3 12
Iloilo 13 2
Negros 13 2
Camarines 12 3
Toledo 9 6
Lapulapu 8 7
Zamboanga 8 7
Mindoro 7 8
Cordova 6 9
Surigao 4 11
Cebu 2 13
Iriga 2 13
Palawan 1 14