Not even a final round defeat could deny Far Eastern University the title of greatest UAAP Men’s Chess team of all time.
The Tamaraws suffered their very first defeat of the tournament at the hands of the University of Santo Tomas Tigers, a 1.5-2.5 beating in the 14th and final round, but the UAAP Season 82 Chess Tournament was already a foregone conclusion several rounds before.
Minus the final round setback, it was a performance to remember. FEU eventually finished with 43 points — an unforgiving 7.5 points ahead of eventual second-placer UST with 35.5 points.
It was the 15th title for the Morayta-based chessers, the most by any UAAP schools, underscoring their status as the league’s best collegiate chess team.
It will take a very long time before anyone can lay claim to FEU’s status. The closest are La Salle and UST, which have only seven crowns apiece.
The Tams are also seemingly out to build a dynasty. They will parade practically the same team anchored on their Big Three — Jeth Romy Morado, RK Sevillano, and JM Jacutina — in seasons to come.
All three won gold on the top three boards, with Morado and Jacutina sharing the Most Valuable Player award. Meanwhile, Sevillano and Jacutina were named as co-Rookie of the Year awardees.
Another Tamaraw, Israelito Rilloraza, claimed the gold on board six to cap FEU’s domination of the tournament.
The only gold that didn’t go FEU’s way went to Ateneo’s Tristan Jared Cervero on board four, and UST’s Antonio Almodal III on board five.
Morado, the reigning national juniors champion, would have bagged the MVP plum uncontested if not for a shock 62-move defeat to Julius Gonzales in a Scotch duel.
Jacutina, for his part, took care of business by downing Samson Lim III in 60 moves of a Stonewall variation of the Queen’s Pawn opening. Meanwhile, Sevillano halved the point with Melito Ocsan, Jr. in 34 moves of an English duel.
UST capped its upset of FEU with a quick, masterful 27-move triumph by Brylle Gever Vinluan over John Jasper Laxamana in another English encounter on board four.
UST finished with silver with 35.5 points while University of the Philippines, which drew with National University, 2-2, pocketed the bronze with 26.5 points.
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