MANILA, Philippines – In a tightly contested blitz chess battle between Camarines and Iloilo, two of the top teams in the Southern Conference of the Wesley So Cup of the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines, it was the former that pulled away in rapid play to take a huge 13-8 win last Saturday.
With the top two board players of both teams canceling each other out in blitz play (Camarines’ GM Mark Paragua vs Iloilo’s Polish GM Kamil Dragun on Board 1 and Ellan Asuela and GM Joey Antonio on Board 2 respectively), it was up to the middle of the Soaring Eagles’ order (French WGM Marie Sebag, NM Ronald Llavanes and Virgen Gil Ruaya, who carved out the crucial points to take the blitz, 4-3.
In rapid play, the top three boards of each side this time all drew even with Sebag cancelling out Antonio’s win on Board 2 as Paragua and Dragun once more were on level terms.
This time, assisting Llavanes were his Camarines teammates NM Carlo Lorena and Christian Mark Daluz who took six point between them versus Iloilo’s two points from Fritz Bryan Porras for a crucial 9-5 win in rapid for an overall 13-8 win.
Coupled with Camarines’ 16-5 demolition of Iriga, the Soaring Eagles won both matches of the Saturday doubleheader to stay within striking distance of Southern Division leaders Cordova which is at 9-0.
Iloilo, which split its result with an early 18-3 win over Lapu, dropped to fourth with a 6-3 record.
Cordova in the meantime continues to roll over its opponents as they crushed Mindoro 20-1 and Iriga 16-5. Five of their nine outings so far were won by more than 10 points.
Toledo, the other surprise team of the Southern Division, garnered two wins as well, including an 11-10 win over struggling Negros to stay at third place with a 7-2 slate. The Negros Kingsmen fell to sixth and a 4-5 record; the first time it fell to below .500, including the previous All-Filipino Conference where they finished third after the elimination round with a 28-6 record.
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