SAN Juan brought down Laguna, 12-9, in the early battle of favorites in the 2021 Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) First Conference last Wednesday.
Reigning national women’s champion WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda and former Asian junior champion WIM Ricky de Guzman provided the much-needed victories for the Predators, who defeated the Heroes, 8-6, in rapid and 4-3, in blitz competitions of the 24-team, two-division tournament.
Fronda swept Jean Karen Enriquez on board three (female), while De Guzman blanked FM Efren Bagamasbad on board four (senior) to deliver perfect scores of three points each.
Also winning for San Juan was Narquingden Reyes, who outwitted FM Austin Jacob Literatus, 2-1, on board two.
Reyes defeated Literatus in their rapid game, but lost in blitz.
The keenly-awaited showdown between United States-based GMs Oliver Barbosa of San Juan and Rogelio Barcenilla, Jr. of Laguna on board one ended in draws in both rapid and blitz games.
GM John Paul Gomez and Kimuel Aaron Lorenzo carried the fight for Laguna with victories over their respective opponents.
Gomez dominated Michael Gotel, 3-0, on board five (homegrown) while Lorenzo edged Narciso Gumila 2-1, on board six (homegrown).
Narquingel Reyes of San Juan and Vince Angelo Medina of Laguna battled to 1.5-1.5 draw.
Laguna later placed the result of the games under protest due to zoom interruptions.
The PCAP board is expected to act on the protest before the resumption of copetitions on Saturday, Jan. 23.
San Juan demolished Antipolo, 18-5-2.5, while Laguna crushed Rizal, 17.5-3.5, in a pair of lopsided opening-day matches in Asia’s first play-for-pay chess league late Jan. 16.
There were no controversy in other featured matches, with Manila Indios Bravos, Iloilo Kisela Knights and Camarines Soaring Eagles posting dominant victories on the second day of action.
Manila, bannered by GM Julio Catalino Sadorra and IM Marvin Miciano, overwhelmed Olongapo Rainbow, 18-5-2.5; Iloilo, led by GM Rogelio Antonio, Jr. and Karl Victor Ochoa outclassed Toledo Trojans, 16-5; and Camarines, backstopped by GM Mark Paragua and NM Carlo Lorena, humbled Cordova Dagami Warriors 16-5.
In other results, Caloocan Loadmanna Knights bested Rizal Towers, 13.5-7.5; Antipolo Cobras downed Cagayan Kings, 12-9; Cavite Spartans outplayed Quezon City, 15.5-5.5; Isabela Raiders edged Pasig Pirates, 11-10; and Negros Kingsmen trounced Mindoro Tamaraws, 13-8.
Three matches still have unofficial and incomplete results — Zamboanga Sultans over Cebu City Machers, 11-9; Lapu-Lapu Naki Warriors over Palawan Queen’s Gambit, 15-5 and Iriga Oragons Surigao Checkmates, 8.5-8.5.
The tournament is organized by PCAP, headed by Chairman Michael Angelo Chua and president-commissioner Atty. Paul Elauria.
Supporting the tournament are the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP), headed by Chairman/President Prospero “Butch” Pichay; and Games and Amusements Board (GAB), led by Chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra.