FEU Woodpushers clinch top 10 finish in online chess tourney

FEU Advocate
February 17, 2021 13:57

The reigning champions of University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s chess tournament, Far Eastern University (FEU) Male Woodpushers, took pride for the country after establishing an exemplary finish at the Kasparov Chess Foundation University Cup held online last February 6 and 7.

The team of FEU Manila A composed of Darry Bernardo, Jeth Romy Morado, Rhenzi Kyle Sevillano, John Merill Jacutina and alternate Kristian Glen Abuton topped a 10th place finish, the top-ranking Philippine team in the said event.

“We are all strongly encouraged by our head coach Grandmaster (GM) Jayson Gonzales. Even from the start, FEU Chess team is really competitive kahit na alam namin na madaming malalakas (even though we know that there are a lot of strong competitors),” Sevillano shared with FEU Advocate.

The back-to-back UAAP champs dropped from seventh to 10th place when the tiebreakers were applied. They were tied with Greece’s National Technical University of Athens A, United States’ St. Louis University A, and Russia’s Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology A with 6.5 points apiece.

Even though they are champions in the Philippines, they were considered underdogs in the international chessfest.

Bernardo spearheaded the team after scoring eight out of nine games on Board 4 and placing 13th out of 571 players in the competition.

“It’s a challenging task for me because I want to prove to my team that I can help to win the chess championship. I’m happy because I have done my part,” Bernardo shared.

The team also stated that the journey coming into the tournament was not easy.

In the midst of the pandemic, the Woodpushers have their virtual training for four hours every Wednesday and Saturday, wherein they studied openings and strategies combined with some inspirational words and tips from GM Gonzales. The Morayta-based squad also did their self-study to outplay their opponents.

During the tourney, Morado stated that one of the struggles faced was the difference in the time zones as the tournament followed the American time for the games.

There were other FEU chess teams that participated in the said tournament. FEU Diliman B finished 18th, FEU Diliman A 28th, FEU Manila C 39th, FEU Diliman C 54th, FEU Diliman D 73rd, and FEU Manila D 77th.

The team will be taking the next action at the International Chess Federation (FIDE) World University Online Chess Championship on March 13 to 27.

-Aimerose C. Atienza

(File photo from Andrei Enrico/FEU Advocate)