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San Juan, Laguna in battle of biggies


OPENING-day winners San Juan and Laguna clash in the first heavyweight battle in the 2021 Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) First Conference on Wednesday.

The Predators, led by GM Oliver Barbosa and WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda, and the Heroes, bannered by GM Rogelio Barcenilla, Jr. and WNM Jean Karen Enriquez, square off in one of 12 matches on the second day of competition in Asia’s first play-for-pay chess league.

San Juan clobbered the Antipolo Cobras, 18.5-2.5, while Laguna humbled Rizal Towers, 17.5-3.5, in a pair of decisive matches in the 12-team Northern Division last Jan. 16.

Barbosa and Barcenilla, two of the nine GMs entered in the tournament, are expected to clash on board one starting at 7 p.m.

Fronda and Enriquez square off on board three for female players.

Manila, topbilled by the country’s No. 2 player GM Julio Sadorra, also seeks its second win when it meets Olongapo Rainbow 7.

Sadorra, IM John Marvin Miciano and Cris Ramayrat provided the much-needed victories over the Indios Bravos, who edged the Cavite Spartans in their Armageddon encounters.

Like Manila, Olongapo also debuted in style with 11.5-9.5 win over Isabela.

Iloilo Knights, led by GM Rogelio Antonio, Jr., and Camarines Eagles, backstopped by GM Mark Paragua, will also gun for their second win against Toledo City Miners and Cordova Warriors, respectively.

Toledo and Cordova also won their opening assignments.

Other second-round matches will pit Caloocan Knights (1-0) against Rizal Towers (0-1), Cagayan King (1-0) against Antipolo Cobras (0-1), Lapu-Lapu Warriors (1-0) against Palawan Queens’ Gambit (0-1), Negros Kingsmen (1-0) against Mindoro Tamaraws (0-1), Isabela Raiders (0-1) against Pasig Pirates (0-1), Cavite Spartans (0-1) against Quezon City Simba’s Tribe (0-1), Cebu City Machers (0-1) against Zamboanga Sultans (0-1) and Iriga City Dragons (0-1) against Surigao Checkmates (0-1).

The third round will follow immediately at 8:15 p.m. with another 12-game schedule.

It will be Cagayan vs San Juan, Laguna vs Caloocan, Antipolo vs Isabela, Cavite vs Rizal, Manila vs Pasig, Olongapo vs Quezon City, Cordova vs Zamboanga, Cebu vs Iloilo, Camarines vs Iriga, Lapu-Lapu vs Toledo, Mindoro vs Surigao and Negros vs Palawan.

PCAP is headed by Michael Angelo Ong Chua as Chairman and Atty. Paul Elauria as president-commissioner.