Pagaran wins duel-A A +A
Thursday, October 11, 2012
THE grudge match between University of San Jose-Recoletos’ (USJ-R) Michael Joseph Pagaran and University of the Visayas’ Alfer Joseph Fernandez was settled in a grueling chess duel last Sunday at the Deep Blue Cafe’s D’ Woodpushers Chess Club in SM City-Cebu.
Pagaran won the Blitz match, 10-6, but was magnanimous with his victory and his supporters saluted Fernandez for being a true sportsman.
The game reached 17 matches, with Fernandez starting out strong by winning four of the first five games to lead 4-1.
But after a few breaks, Pagaran started to prove his doubters wrong when he won the next four games before drawing the 10th game to lead 5.5 to 4.5.
“In the early games, I was trying to measure how deep their preparation was and what openings they have prepared against me. After some thought, I tried opening transpositions and it worked,” Pagaran told Sun.Star Cebu.
Since then, it was all Pagaran while Fernandez managed only 1.5 points in the next seven matches. The fifth year Electronics and Communications Engineering student of USJ-R came out victorious after winning his 10th point in the 17th match.
“I accepted the challenge with the thought in mind that after I won the match, there’ll be no more doubts on who is the better player. (I) just want to prove who the better player is. And I felt vindicated after the win,” Pagaran added.
Aside from bragging rights, there was also a P10,000 prize.
Pagaran used the Petroff defense when he played with the black pieces. Included in his repertoire of defense were the Caro-Kann Defense Exchange Variation and Caro-Kann Defense Classical Variation.
When he had the white pieces, he used the Bird’s Opening and the Two Knights Defense Berliner Variation.
Aside from aiming to pass the board exams after graduating this March, Pagaran hopes to become a grandmaster.
“A lesson learned through that match is that you should never lose your confidence, the match isn’t over until it’s over,” Pagaran added.
Fernandez, a two-time Shell National Active Youth Chess Championships Grand Finalist, was no longer available for an interview after the match.
The challenge was an off-shoot of their rivalry during the Cesafi tournament, when UV accused USJ-R of dropping their match against the University of Cebu, so UV won’t win the title. It escalated when it was reported that Pagaran jeered at Enriquez when he lost. Though the students’ score had been settled, a match between the coaches of both schools is also brewing strong after UV coach Rommel Ganzon challenged USJ-R coach NM Rogelio Enriquez Jr.
“That is very interesting to watch. That is what makes chess an interesting game---student vs. student, coach vs. coach, maybe masters vs. master. If ever our GMs will come home and inspire our young players. Rommel is a good player; in fact he is one of the strongest players in Cebu right now while Enriquez is also a good player and he did wonders for USJ-R for years. I tell you that match could happen because we, chess players, have pride,” said International Master Kim Steven Yap, who is teaching in a chess school in Singapore.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 12, 2012.