Para woodpushers continue to stamp class in PCAP tilt

Lynde Salgados
Para woodpushers continue to stamp class in PCAP tilt

SCORING MACHINE. NM Henry Lopez of Davao competes through their laptops for the Paralympic team in the second round of PCAP’s 3rd Conference rivalry. 

Philippine Paralympic team

Led by Fide Master Sander Severino and National Master Henry Lopez, the Philippine Paralympic team has been a revelation in the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines

Never underestimate differently abled chess opponents.

The Philippine Paralympic team, behind the unbeaten wheelchair-riding tandem of Fide Master Sander Severino and National Master Henry Lopez, delivered a twin-kill on Wednesday night, October 27, to keep the lead in the Southern division halfway of the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) season-ending 3rd Conference.

After blasting the Negros Kingsmen, 12.5-8.5, in the opener, the Para chessers crippled the Lapu-lapu Warriors, 14.5-6.5, in the nightcap to raise their total to 11 wins against 2 losses, ahead of the Southern side’s closest pursuers, Iloilo Kisela Knights and Penang, Malaysia, who are tied in second place at 9-4 win-loss slate.

The Silay, Negros Occidental-born Severino, reigning online world rapid champion in the International Physically Disabled Chess Association (IPCA), dominated Adrian dela Cruz of Negros on Board 5 and Aldwin Daculan of Lapu-lapu on Board 7 in both the blitz and rapid contests for a perfect 6-0 output.

Lopez, the pride of Panabo, Davao del Norte, also did the same opposite Theseus Benitez Jr. of Negros on Board 6 and Brylle Arellano of Lapu-lapu on Board 5 to set the tone for Para’s dominant show.

“Yes, we play with the odds against us as we also have visually-impaired players in our team like NM Arman Subaste who is partially blind. But we compensate for it with our tight teamwork and consistent training as part of our Philippine team’s duty and commitment to serve for the flag and country,” Para coach and trainer NM James Infiesto told Rappler.

According to Lopez, the Para team stands a good chance to even win the PCAP crown “if we can maintain our performance.”

“They came as a guest squad, but they’re a revelation in this league and an inspiration to everyone competing,” said Arena Grandmaster Rey Urbiztondo, owner of the Surigao Fianchetto Checkmates which is Mindanao’s only official PCAP entry in the third conference.

“Our team has good chemistry, playing with no pressure at all. We just enjoy every match – either we win or we learn,” added Severino.

Also playing for Para’s successful outing on Saturday, October 30, are International Master Daniel Quizon, NM Roel Abelgas, Woman National Master Jerlyn Mae San Diego, Joselito Cada, and NM Subaste.

Grandmaster Oliver Barbosa-led San Juan Predators remain unscathed with a 13-0 record to grab the solo lead in the Northern division, followed by Caloocan and Pasig at 12-1 win-loss ledger each. –