Laguna Heroes defeated Zamboanga Sultans, 2-1, in the rescheduled Armageddon to continue their winning ways in the All Filipino Conference Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) and gain a share of lead last Monday, March 1, 2021 at the new online platform chess.com.
With the win, the Laguna Heroes backed up by Greatech Philippines, Inc., SDC Global Choice and Jolly Smile Dental Clinic moved into a two-way tie for the lead with San Juan Predators with 20-3 win-loss records in the Northern Division.
With both teams tied at 10.5 points apiece after the results of blitz and rapid play last Saturday, February 27, 2021, the Laguna Heroes' Grandmaster Rogelio "Banjo" Barcenilla Jr. (black) faced off against the Zamboanga Sultan's National Master Joey Florendo while Grandmaster John Paul Gomez (white) took on International Master Chito Garma (black), and Fide Master Austin Jacob Literatus (black) match wits with Canadian National Master Zulfikar Sali (white), respectively.
In Board 1, the Arizona, US based Barenilla, former two-time Asian Junior champion blundered his move (19. Qc6) that allows Rd6 forking the Bishop and Queen therefore NM Florendo wins the Bishop as well as the game. After 40 moves of Queen's Pawn Opening, Chigorin Variation, GM Barcenilla resigns in view of Rh7 inevitable mate.
In Board 2, with white pieces in the Slav Exchange, GM Gomez was winning from Middlegame transitioning to endgame but on move 40. Nc6!? is an inaccuracy that turns the table allowing pawn march for IM Garma on both wings c3 push and then h4 that seems hard to obstruct giving black (Garma) a better edge to win the game. But IM Garma missed the chance so GM Gomez had taken the victory. IM Garma resigns after 57 moves seeing mate in two that is cannot be parried.
In Board 3, FM Literatus needs to draw the game as Black to win the match in the Armageddon and he secured the point by opposite Bishop ending.FM Literatus won on time after move 65. Ke3 in a drawish opposite Bishop Ending against NM Sali.
"It was tough playing against the Zamboanga Sultans. It was our first armageddon match. I am very happy since Laguna Heroes are now back on top of the standings together with San Juan Predators." said Philippine Executive Chess Association (PECA) president Dr. Alfredo "Fred" Paez, one of the four co-team owner of the Laguna Heroes that includes engineer Benjamin Dy, engineer Jonathan Mamaril and Mr. David Nithyananthan.
The Heroes, bannered by GM Barcenilla, FM Literatus and GM Gomez, will stake their conference-best record against the Rizal Batch Towers of IM Rolando Nolte, FM Mari Joseph Turqueza and NM Noel dela Cruz and face off with the Predators of GM Oliver Barbosa, IM Ricardo de Guzman and FM Arden Reyes on Wednesday, March 3, 2021.
The 24-team pro chess tournament is organized by PCAP, headed by President-Commissioner Atty. Paul Elauria; Chairman Michael Angelo Chua; and treasurer Atty. Arnel Batungbakal.
The games are sanctioned by the Games and Amusements Board (GAB), headed by Chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra and supported by National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) Chairman/President Rep. Prospero "Butch" Pichay Jr.
Photo shows Laguna Heroes' Grandmaster John Paul Gomez