Palawan’s campaign at the PCAP All Filipino fell short of victory against Cavite and tumbled against Manila on Wednesday night. A few shifts of fortune and who knows how the Queen’s Gambit team could have fared.

Once more, Catherine Perena-Secopito used her vast experience to prop up her teammates by sweeping one of Manila’s top scorers, Ryan Dungca. But team captain Susan Grace Neri on third board could not squeeze wins from slightly better positions against Mira Mirano and Carmelita Abanes was defaulted due to internet connection. Manila won 15.5-5.5.

The Queens played with renewed energy against a revamped Cavite lineup. Cavite ruled the blitz section even as their new board one Lloyd Rubio was defaulted. In the rapid section, where a win is two points, Rubio wrangled out a win against Shania Mae Mendoza, which gave a 7-7 tie and match victory.

Secopito-Dungca, Rapid, Queen’s Gambit Accepted: 1 d4 d5 2 c4 dxc4 (Secopito is one of the few players who likes these types of QGA positions. She creates pressure by seemingly tame moves and soon you are in her bind) 3 e3 Bf5 4 Nc3 e6 5 Bxc4 Nf6 6 Nf3 a6 7 O-O Nbd7 8 Qe2 c5 9 a4 Bg4 10 h3 Bh5 11 Rd1 cxd4 12 exd4 Bd6 13 Bg5 O-O 14 g4 Bg6 15 Ne5 Be7 16 h4 h6 ( Secopito’s buildup quickly puts Dungca under pressure. 16…Nb6 is better. Secopito easily gets a pawn) 17 Nxg6 fxg6 18 Bxe6+ Kh7 19 Be3 h5 20 g5 Ne8 21 Ne4 Nd6 22 Ng3 Qe8 23 Qd3 Bd8 24 Bh3 Nb6 25 d5 Nd7 26 f4 Qxe3+ (This ingenious way to leave pressure only douses the blaze but the embers remain hot) 27 Qxe3 Bb6 28 Qxb6 Nxb6 29 Rd4 Nbc4 30 Re1 Rf7 31 b3 Na5 32 Re6 Rd8 33 f5 Nxf5 34 Nxf5 gxf5 35 g6+ (Secopito’s seemingly easy exploitation of advantage of development is impressive). Black resigns.

It seems we will seeing more of Palawan’s captain, Susan Grace Neri, from playing as she has to step in when players tire. One does not become head coach of DLSU by being an armchair coach. Play must be like this.

Clairelevy Estavillo-Susan Grace Neri, Blitz, Sicilian: 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 g6 3 c3 Bg7 4 g3 Nc6 5 Bg2 d6 6 O-O e5 7 d3 Nge7 8 Be3 O-O 9 Nbd2 b5 10 a3 a5 11 b3 f5 12 Qc2 f4 13 gxf4 exf4 14 Bxf4 Rxf4 15 Rfe1 Qf8 16 Nf1 Rxf3 17 Bxf3 Qxf3 18 Ng3 Bh3 19 Qe2 Qg2 mate