GRANDMASTER Rogelio Barcenilla Jr. and FIDE Master Austin Literatus delivered when it mattered most as the Laguna Heroes beat the Camarines Soaring Eagles in the final of the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) All-Filipino Conference on Saturday night.
Many-time Olympian Barcenilla and Literatus won their respective matches for the Northern Division winners Heroes in the Armegeddon (tiebreak) over their Southern Division counterparts to rule PCAP’s inaugural tournament that was played online.
Barcenilla and fellow GM John Paul Gomez gave the Heroes the upperhand, 14.5-6.5—in the first set, but the Eagles fought back behind GM Mark Paragua, 11.5-9.5, to send the duel to the Armageddon.
The Heroes had the chance to gain advantage in the tiebreak with a black-white-black option where two of their players handling black would only need a draw to win. But they chose white-black-white—where two white players would need to win at all cost to clinch the title—instead.
The pick almost backfired as Paragua maneuvered the black pieces to a 25-move King’s Indian Defense triumph over Gomez on Board 1.
Barcenilla fought back with white on Board 3 and evened the score for the Heroes by dismantling untitled Mark Daluz in 55 moves of a Reversed Sicilian Defense, sending the championship to a decider between Literatus and Ellan Asuela on Board 2.
Literatus put his experience to work and despite playing black, forced the untitled Asuela to blunder with a king move in the latter part of the match. The Soaring Eagle was checkmated after the 43rd move of the Sicilian Defense game.
The Iloilo Kisela Knights defeated the San Juan Predators to take third place.