AN underdog Far Eastern University bucked all odds as it eked out a top 10 finish in the super strong Kasparov Chess Foundation University Cup that was recently done online.
Darry Bernardo, a member of the national para chess team that finished fifth in the FIDE Olympiad for People with Disability last year, paced the Tams by scoring eighth out of nine on Board 4 that was highlighted by his shock win over International Master Harshit Raja from University of Missouri A.
FEU’s team A, which also consists of Jeth Romy Morado, Rhenzi Kyle Sevillano, John Merill Jacutina and alternate Kristian Glen Abuton, actually finished tied for seventh with Greece’s National Technical University of Athens A, the United States’ St. Louis University A and Russia’s Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology A with 6.5 points apiece.
But the reigning UAAP champion ended up just 10th after tiebreakers were applied.
It was a strong performance nonetheless for a team that competed without a titled player and ranged against a field headed by the US’ powerhouse University of Texas at Rio Grande A, which blew away the opposition with a nine-game title sweep.
UTRGA was led by two Grandmasters in Vladimir Fedoseev and Sanan Sjugirov, who combined for 15 points in the tournament that was participated in by 571 chessers including 17 GMs, 11 IMs, 16 FIDE Masters, one Woman GM and four WFMs spread from 125 teams from 24 countries across the globe.
“We are so fortunate despite of the pandemic the FEU Sports programs continues especially in Chess. We owe our success to FEU management,” said national women’s and FEU coach GM Jayson Gonzales, who thanked FEU chairman Aurelio R. Montinola III and athletic director Mark Molina for their support.
Gonzales said his team would see action in the FIDE World University Online Chess Championship slated Mar. 13 to 27.
University of Missouri A placed second with 7.5 points, Texas Tech University A third with seven and University of Texas Dallas A, a team coached by Filipino GM Julio Catalino Sadorra, fourth with seven points.
Indonesia’s Gunadarma University was fifth while England’s University of Cambridge was sixth each with seven points.
FEU Diliman B ended up 18th, FEU Diliman A 28th, FEU Manila C 39th, FEU Diliman C 54th, FEU Diliman D 73rd and FEU Manila D 77th. Stealing some of the thunder from big guns were UAAP MVP Shania Mae Mendoza, and youthful April Joy Claros and Lemmuel Adena.
Mendoza, a many-time World Chess Olympiad veteran, finished with 7.5 points out of nine and the 13-year-old Claros, the best Filipino finisher who made the quarterfinals of the World Youth and Cadet Championship last year, finished undefeated with seven wins two draws.
Adena, a 13-year-old eighth-grader, sent shockwaves by pulling the rug from GM Hovhannes Gabuzyan of UTRGB.