By: Ed Ubaldo
University of Sto. Tomas delivered a perfect start to their UAAP Season 85 Men’s Chess Championships campaign with a dominant 4-0 win over Ateneo de Manila University at the FEU Diliman Sports Complex on Saturday.
Reigning Board 1 bronze medalist Julius Gonzales opened the dominant sweep by using a passed pawn in the a-file to score a quick win with the white pieces in a 31-move Old Benoni Defense against Ateneo’s Joshua Tan.
In Board 3, Brylle Gever Vinluan also converted a win by playing the white pieces in a similar fashion, banking on a passed pawn on the e-file to force Hans Jeremy Reyes to resign after 40 moves of the Slav Defense.
Season 84 silver medalist Melito Ocsan Jr. (Board 2) and Lee Roi Palma (Board 4) completed the commanding win with accurate endgame plays against Christopher Khalil Kis-ing and Paul Mathew Llanillo, respectively.
University of the Philippines, who finished runner-up in Season 84, stayed within striking distance of the league leaders after imposing their will via a 3-1 victory over Adamson University.
Mark James Marcellana scored the first win for the Maroons in Board 2 despite playing the black pieces in 37 moves of the London System.
Fide-Master Stephen Rome Pangilinan joined the party after executing a rook sacrifice to nab the enemy queen in Board 1 and unleashed an unstoppable mating attack that forced Adamson’s Vince Albert Arellano to resign.
Michael Johann Olladas and Jan Darryl Batula then split the points with Adamson’s John Frederick Sunga and Alfonzo Louis Olendo, respectively, to complete the win.
Meanwhile, De La Salle University looked poised for an opening win after Daniel John Lemi and Cyril Felrod Telesforo scored quick wins in Boards 2 and 3, respectively.
But Lorenzo Aaron Cantela (Board 4) played accurately in an opposite bishop and pawn endgame to secure Far Easter University’s first point that Hans Ezekiel Olorosisimo followed up with a nifty rook endgame play to salvage a 2-2 split.