NU, La Salle win UAAP chess titles
MANILA, Philippines - National University, beefed up by the country’s top junior player, captured the men’s chess crown at the Universities Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) late Saturday.
Paulo Bersamina, 18, went through the 14-round, double-round event unbeaten, giving up two draws as he led the Bulldogs to 42.5 points - 6.5 points ahead of University of Santo Tomas and De La Salle University’s 29 points.
NU also played a big part in De La Salle’s conquest of the UAAP women’s championship. The country’s no.1 lady woodpusher, Janelle Mae Frayna of FEU, stumbled in the penultimate round to NU’s Janena Regencia, and this gave the players of coach Randy Segarra the cushion needed to clinch down the women’s title.
De La Salle, led by Bernadette Galas, Rowelyn Acedo, Cherry Ann Mejia and top rookie Antoinette San Diego, won the title with 42.5 points followed by FEU’s 39.5 points. UP, led by Board Two gold medalist Cristy Bernales, had 34 points.
FEU, bannered by board 1 gold medalist John Meril Jacutina, took the juniors title with 37.5 points followed by UST which prevailed over NU by tiebreak for second.
Despite nailing down the board one gold medal and the rookie MVP honors, Bersamina missed the steadying presence of his father, Norlito, who died last October 2015.
“This is my first time without my father at my side,” he said in a phone interview with Rappler.com. The chubby Bersamina, an untitled player who competed in the old Far East Bank-RP Open events, was the only trainer Paulo had known until last year.
His father steered him to victory at the age of 12 in the 2010 national juniors and a shot at the 2014 Battle of the Grandmasters title where Paulo lost to Eugene Torre in the final round. Paulo still qualified for the 2014 Olympiad team, which had lost Wesley So and Oliver Barbosa.
“Making the Olympiad team will be my goal,” said Bersamina. In the UAAP, Bersamina began taking a little risk instead of wearing down his opponents, while two attacking wins were made the expense of Mac Labasano of UP, said NU coach Jojo Aquino.
But for the 20-year-old Regencia, who is a senior in digital forensics as part of her computer science degree, her triumph over Frayna was the game of her life. It was virtual trench warfare. Regencia pounced on Frayna’s error removing her Queen from defending her king by occupying the c-file with her rook, attacking the e-pawn. Frayna gave up her queen to avoid immediate mate and Regencia nailed down victory.
“When the game ended, I had 13 minutes and she had 26 minutes,” said Regencia of her first encounter with Frayna, who needs only a women’s grandmaster norm to be the country’s first player to hold that title. – Rappler.com