TANAUAN CITY – Powerhouse Mandaluyong City clinched a spot in the crossover semifinals following a 3-1 victory over Tandag City Sunday in the 2011 National Inter-Cities and Municipalities Chess Team Championship at the Tanuan Event Center here.
Barring a lopsided loss in the final round against Tanauan City-Shopper’s Mart and a huge win by Bacolod Negros/Nica against Tandag, Mandaluyong would be the number one seed in the crossover semifinals.
The team supported by Mayor Benhur Abalos, Jr. and Rep. Neptali Gonzales II banked on FIDE Master David Elorta and Francis Glen Panes to remain perfect after six rounds and maintain solo leadership with 12 points.
Elorta, a renowned blitz player, stamped his class over International Master Jan Emmanuel Garcia on board two while Panes toppled Jimson Bitoon on board three.
Grandmaster Rogelio “Joey” Antonio halved the point with fellow GM Richard Bitoon on board one while Jose Vito Tapulgo salvaged a draw from a losing position against Sherwin Tiu to complete Mandaluyong’s conquest.
The team’s vaunted middle of the order also provided the winning blow against Tanauan City-FAITH in the fifth round late Saturday. Elorta stunned IM Rolando Nolte while Panes downed Andrew Casiano.
Their effort didn’t go unappreciated.
“My teammates are carrying the load for me,” said Antonio. “Medyo relax ako sa laro kasi confident ako na kaya nilang umiskor ng panalo.”
Bacolod swept Lima-Malvar, Batangas, 4-0, to maintain solo possession of second spot with 10 points. Tanauan City-Shopper’s Mart shocked pre-tournament favorite Tagaytay City, 2.5-1.5, to stay in the hunt with nine points. Also in contention for the remaining three spots with identical nine points were Tandag, San Juan City-B and FEU-Manila.
San Juan City-B trounced Bohol-Matwood, 3-1, while FEU-Manila beat Tanauan, 2.5-1.5.