MindMovers rule blitz team challenge
The Manila Times
CAGAYAN DE ORO: Since relocating to Cagayan de Oro in July 2022, Bacolod City native Ellan Asuela never missed a beat when it comes to pushing his luck across the 64-square board. And last Saturday’s FIDE-rated chess event at the Ayala-Centrio Mall here was not an exemption. Teaming up with Barangay Bonbon neighbor Abdul Halil Abdullah and two youngsters Cyprus Pada and Nil Jeschel Nahbi Gamba, Asuela’s MindMovers dominated the GCF FIDE-rated 4x4 Team Blitz Chess Championship. The MindMovers narrowly defeated Malaybalay City in the sixth and final round, 2.5-1.5, with Asuela and Abdullah notching crucial wins on the top boards against Joseph Maestrado and Oliver Damonsong, respectively. Pada bowed to Nico Tabacuan on board 3 and Gamba drew with Sebastian Damonsong on board 4 to secure the win. The thrilling victory put MindMovers into a tie with the Patsada team of Basilio Pandan Jr., Naphtali Wabe, Sara Dalagan and Rena Dalagan at 10 match points apiece. Patsada’s dramatic climb to the top was highlighted by Pandan’s gigantic upset win over FIDE Master Nelson Villanueva on board 1. Sara, meanwhile, drew with Ashley Aya Nicole Paquinol on board 3 and Rena compensated Wabe’s board 2 loss to boy wonder Quarl Maverick Vera Cruz by outlasting Xian Macgyver Caneos on board 4. However, Pandan’s heroics were not enough as the MindMovers edged Patsada in the Bucholz tiebreaker 17.515 to bag the championship and bring home the P5,000 top prize. Patsada received the first runner-up prize of P3,000 while second runner-up Nemesis and third runner-up Mis.Or. received P2,000 and P1,000, respectively. Nemesis, made up of National Master Levi Mercado, Abner Cantonjos, Arnel Enrico Paolo Codera and Francis Nathaniel Embolode, and Mis.Or, composed of Johnnel Balquin, Keith Adriane Ilar, Jake Riddick Sabordo and Kyne Cian Balquin, ended up tied with 9 match points each, but the former prevailed in the tiebreak, 15.5-15.