THE University of Cebu chess team nabbed the best available coach and trainer in town in IM Kim Steven Yap in its hope to dethrone the perennial champions University of San Jose-Recoletos.

IM Yap, who is also an alumnus of UC, was recently named the coach of the collegiate teams, while its long-time coach Louie Navaja is now in charge of the high school team.

“I got the appointment from Sir Bernard (Ricablanca) who named me to coach the college squad, while Sir Louie will take charge of the high school team. Actually, it will be a tough battle since we will be dealing with the USJ-R squad, which has been winning the tournament for years now,” Yap told Sun.Star Cebu.

Yap, however, is not new to UC as he trained the college squad before he left to work as trainer at the Asean Chess Academy in Singapore in 2011.

While in Singapore, Yap still helped the UC squad through online training. His effect was evident when the UC Men’s squad won the college chess title in the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) tournament in 2012 Season.

“I am challenged with the lack of materials. Right now, we will be facing a very tough USJ-R team that has Ramil Wadim, Felix Shaun Balbona, Jethro Esplanada and Allan Pason. I only have Diego Claro to lean on along with Royd Ortouste, Niel Gelig and Mico Cuyag and Jetro Caparino,” Yap said.

Aside from trying to rally the men’s team to do better than the third-place finish last year, Yap is also looking to make the women’s team stronger and improve their third place finish last year.

According to Yap, he is putting UC into the Cebu School of Chess program, making UC the third school that is now IM Yap’s tutelage.

Yap is also teaching chess to the Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu players and the Marie Ernestine School.

“I think I like my chances at UC. As an alumnus, I have to give my best to make the team win games in Cesafi. However, I put UC program into the Cebu School of Chess curriculum to standardize all my chess trainings. UC’s of course will be for the elite level already while the other schools are from basic to advanced levels,” said Yap.

The Cesafi 2015 Season will officially open on Aug. 1 while the other events will start in two weeks later. The the chess tournament is expected to be held in the third or fourth week of September.