Ateneo alumni fall to DLSU in virtual charity chess bout

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Photo Courtesy of Gavin Ong

ON SEPTEMBER 5 and 6, alumni from the Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University (DLSU) chess teams donned their school colors once again in a two-day virtual charity chess tournament. The tournament followed a 12-round Scheveningen system, with all the matches played via lichess.org and streamed on Facebook and YouTube. The tournament also served as a fundraiser to provide the National Chess Federation’s (NCFP) Munting Agila Program scholars with the necessary equipment for their training.

A strong start

The Blue Eagles were off to a solid start in the tournament, notching eight wins in the first round to quickly establish a four-point lead, 8-4. The Blue and White continued to pile onto their lead in the second round after winning six matches and one draw to enjoy a 14.5-9.5 advantage over DLSU.

However, DLSU fought back and dominated in the third and fourth rounds of play. The Green Archers tallied a total of 14 wins in both rounds to cut the deficit to a mere one point, 24.5-23.5.

Desperately clinging on to their single-point advantage, Leonard Reyes led the charge in the fifth round as the Blue Eagles retaliated with eight wins to restore a five-point lead, 32.5-27.5. The sixth round saw both squads take five wins apiece and two draws to end the bout in a tie. At the end of day one, the Blue Eagles held on to a comfortable five-point lead, 38.5-33.5. 

Back and forth

The Blue and White carried their momentum into day two as they won a tightly contested seventh round with a score of 6.5-5.5, pushing their overall lead to six points, 45-39.

In the eighth and ninth rounds, Ateneo began to slow down as they compiled eleven losses and four draws in both rounds, which cut their lead down to four, 56-52.

Despite the temporary setback, the Blue Eagles recovered in the tenth round as they secured seven victories to bring their lead back to six, 63-57. Despite a drawn-out ten rounds, The Blue and White’s strong performance was due to the dominant showing of Reyes who remained undefeated with a flawless record of 10-0. 

In the 11th round, Ateneo’s hopes to bring home the win suddenly took a turn for the worse as they surprisingly dropped eight losses to finish the round with a slim two-point advantage, 67-65. The Blue and White’s poor showing in the penultimate round set up an exciting, down-to-the-wire finish in the final round.

With pressure catching up to the Blue Eagles, the Green Archers continued their onslaught in the 12th round as four Ateneo boards fell early. The sudden turn of events gave DLSU a two-point advantage with eight matches left to play. With the odds stacked against them, the Blue Eagles managed to win five of the eight remaining boards to salvage a 72-72 draw.

However, despite the score being tied at 72, DLSU was declared the winner of the charity event. This is in accordance with the tournament’s rules, which specify that the championship goes to whichever team raised more money for the NCFP scholars.

Despite the outcome, Ateneo Team Captain Gavin Ong believed that both teams succeeded in their efforts to aid the NCFP scholars. “The match was definitely for a good cause,” said Ong. “I believe that despite the competition, both schools are winners.” At the end of the event, the combined efforts of the Ateneo and DLSU alumni garnered Php 101,000.





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