Chess: Laguna takes inaugural PCAP crown


Posted at Apr 04 2021 04:08 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- Two-time Asian junior champion GM Rogelio "Banjo" Barcenilla Jr. and FM Austin Jacob Literatus were the heroes for Laguna, as they emerged as champions of the first ever All-Filipino Conference of the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP), on Black Friday.

The Laguna Heroes defeated Camarines in the National Finals to become the champions of the trailblazing league's inaugural professional season.

Playing the white pieces, Barcenilla defeated Christian Mark Daluz after 55 moves of English Opening. Literatus, playing the black, checkmated Ellan Asuela after 43 moves of Modern Defense.

Grandmaster Mark Paragua, playing black drew first blood in the Armageddon for Camarines after forcing fellow grandmaster John Paul Gomez to resign after 25 moves in the King's Indian Skirmish.

"It was a total team effort," said Barcenilla, winner of the last two Olympiad qualifiers.

"Our championship match against the Camarines Soaring Eagles was the toughest and most intense among the matches that we had, especially when we reached the do-or-die armageddon match. It was anybody's match. We were just lucky in the last and deciding game. I would like to give thanks to all the fans, followers and supporters of Laguna Heroes," said Head Coach Arena Grandmaster Dr. Alfredo "Fred" Paez.

According to 1996 Philippine Junior Champion Fide Master Robert Suelo who watched the game live thru online, Asuela was ahead on the quality of pieces captured and time as he looks poised to breach through Literatus' Modern Defense.

But a pawn check at f3 in his 37th move started Asuela's endgame downfall, as he went full throttle on his time attack against Literatus.

A skewer in the 41st move allowing Literatus to capture the rook.
Asuela Ke4 in the 42nd move followed by Ne5 in the 43rd move overlooked Literatus rook to d4 mating move.

Other members of the Laguna Heroes, who also topped the elimination round, were Woman National Master Jean Karen Enriquez, Fide Master Jose Efren Bagamasbad, Vince Angelo Medina, Kimuel Aaron Lorenzo, Candidate Master Arjie Bayangat, Engr. Benjamin Dy, Engr. Jonathan Mamaril, Mr. David Nithyananthan and head coach Arena Grandmaster Dr. Alfredo "Fred" Paez. -- By Marlon Bernardino.