Iloilo, San Juan chessers on collision course

July 21, 2022 Ed Andaya 534 views

DEFENDING champion Iloilo Kisela Knights and two-time winner San Juan Predators remain on collision course for a fourth straight title showdown in the PCAP chess team championships.

Iloilo, bannered by GM Rogelio Antonio, Jr. and import GM Hovhannes Gabuzyan, whipped Palawan Queenโ€™s Gambits, 16-5, and Cebu City Machers, 18-3, while San Juan, led by GM Oliver Barbosa and WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda, crushed Rizal Towers, 17.5-3.5, and Quezon City Simbaโ€™s Tribe, 12-9, to underscore their dominance in the two-division, 24-team tournament.

Iloilo and San Juan battled it out for the overall title in three of the first four conferences of Asiaโ€™s first and only play-for-pay league, with the Predators winning the 2021 Second Conference (GM Wesley So Cup) and the Predators dominating the 2021 Third Conference (Open) and 2022 First Conference (All-Filipino).

Last Saturday, Iloilo relied anew on Antonio, who swept Peter Darby and WNM Ludivina Nadera of Palawan, 3-0 and Lincoln Yap of Cebu, 3-0; and Gabuzyan, who blanked WIM Beverly Mendoza of Palawan, 3-0, and Randy Cabungcal of Cebu, 2-1.

Equally impressive was San Juan, which drew big games from Barbosa, who bested Richelieu Salcedo of Rizal, 2.5-.5 and Marlon Bernardino of Quezon City, 2.5-.5; and Fronda, who demolished Kelly Ann David of Rizal, 3-0, and Kun Fang and Michaela Concio of Quezon City, 3-0.

Also hitting paydirt for the Predators of PCAP Chairman Michael Angelo Chua and coach Hubert Estrella were IM Rolando Nolte, who beat NM Noel de la Cruz of Rizal, 3-0; IM Ricardo de Guzman, who stopped NM Elias Lao of Rizal, 3-0; and Narciso Gumila, who downed NM Robert Arellano of Quezon City, 2.5-.5.

The tournament, which is being held in honor of Filipino-born GM Wesley So, is sponsored by San Miguel Corporation, Ayala Land and PCWorx.

Standings after 33 rounds:

Pasig 29-4; Caloocan 27-6; San Juan 26-7; Laguna 20-13, Manila 20-13; Cagayan 18-15, Cavite 18-15; Isabela 13-20; Quezon City 12-21; Rizal 10-23; Mindoro 8-25; Olongapo 1-32.

Iloilo 31-2; Negros 26-7, Davao 26-7; Surigao 22-11; Toledo 21-12; Zamboanga 20-13; Camarines-Iriga 14-19; Tacloban 11- 22; Palawan 9-24; Cagayan de Oro 8-25: Cebu 6-27; Pagadian 1-32.

Schedule of games on July 20:

Round 34
North — Olongapo vs. Manila; Cagayan vs. Isabela, Caloocan vs. Rizal, Laguna vs. Quezon City, San Juan vs. Cavite, Pasig vs. Mindoro.
South — Pagadian vs. Toledo, Surigao vs. Camarines, Negros vs. Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga vs. Palawan, Davao vs. Cebu, Iloilo vs. Tacloban.