The second phase of the Professional Chess Association of the Philippines (PCAP) eliminations did not turn out well for the Palawan’s Queen’s Gambit team. The fighting ladies lost their matches due to one board. They lost to Quezon City, 8.5 to 12.5 and Olongapo by the same score.

Yanika Seratubias had an unfortunate outing. A full queen up against Lou Anton Rivera of Olongapo in rapid chess, she lost on time. Have sportsmanship and chivalry vanished? In a chess tournament, these are set aside as a struggle ensues. Grandmaster Darwin Laylo lost on time in a vastly superior position against a tricycle driver from Cagayan in the first round of the PCAP.

Chess is cruel but  the Palawan Queen’s Gambit squad have not lost their spunk. Shania Mae Mendoza, Catherine Secopito and Marie Antoinette San Diego have held the top three boards valiantly. San Diego has one of the best records on Board 3, which is against women. She has only lost twice in 13 games. Seratubias and Marife dela Torre have been winning so it is a matter of time before fortune smiles to these gallant women.

Y. Seratubias-Benjamin Lising (Quezon City), rapid: 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Bg5 e6 7 f4 Qb6 8 Qd2 Nc6 (Black shuns the Poisoned Pawn proper. 8… Qxb2 tests one courage. Can Black take the b-pawn and live? Fischer believed so and others followed him but the computer has removed the risk-taking factor which Black used to create tension and win.)  9 Nf3 Be7 (9…Qxb2 still works. For ex: 10. Rb1 Qa3 11. Bd3 b5 12 Rb3 Qa5) 10 b3 (Not in the spirit of the variation. Better is 10. 0-0-0. Black gets an equal game as White chooses to build up her game positionally.) h6 11 Bh4 Qc7 12 O-O-O Bd7 13 a3 Rc8 14 Bxf6 Bxf6 15 e5 dxe5 16 Bc4 (After maneuvering, White decides to go for the attack, disdaining Black’s Be7. Better is 16 Ne4 Be7


Board position after 16. Bc4

17. fxe5 Bxa3 ch 18. Kb1 Rd8) 16..  Nd4 ( Black fails to seize a tactical shot. 16.. Be7 17. Kb2 exf4 18. Rhe1 b5. Black can initiate action against White’s king) 17 Nxe5 Bxe5 18 fxe5 Nf5 (18…A final chance to create some play vs White’s king is lost. 18..b5 19. Qxd4  bxc4 20. b4 Bc6. After that Black prepares Qb7 and a5. White is roused and pushes the attack.)  19 g4 b5 20 gxf5 bxc4 .21 b4  exf5 22 Nd5 Qc6 23 Nb6 Rd8 24 e6 fxe6 25 Qd4 Rg8 26 Rhe1 Ke7 27 Qh4+ Kf7 (The final mistake. 27.. g5! is forced. If White plays 28. Qxh6 Qxb6 29. Qh7 ch Kf6 30. Rxd7 Rxd7 31. Qg8 ch and a perpetual looms. A long engine line which is hard to see in the closing seconds of a battle).   28 Nxc4 g5 29 Qh5+ Kf6 30 Ne5 Be8 31 Qxh6+ Rg6 32 Qf8+ Black resigns. It’s mate in one.





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