THE late great American chess genius Bobby Fischer must be smiling at the Davao All-Stars after orchestrating what had been recently considered as one of the greatest comebacks in Mindanao online chess battle.
Down by 16 points on the first day of 20-board skirmishes via lichess.org site, the Davao pawn pushers were seemingly done in their revenge-seeking rematch with the Cagayan de Oro's Finest who dealt them a convincing 398-354 shellacking during their first online duel for the 2020 Mindanao Goodwill Challenge last June.
"Kulata man sila..lamang na ta'g 16 points sa first round (We're soundly or beating them and virtually winning again as we're already comfortably ahead)," said Mindanao's top non-master Johnnel Balquin, one of Oro's regular board players.
However powered by 1988 National Junior champion in successful businessman National Master Jonathan Tan, the Dabawenyos not only bounced back thrillingly but delivered a mind-blowing comeback in the second round on July 26 that is hard to be forgotten.
With the resurgent Tan unloading 26 points and fellow executive in Arena Grandmaster (AGM) Lyndon Sombilon blasting in 25, the Davao All-Stars essayed the 960 Fischerandom chess en route to pummeling the CdeO-MisOr side, 106-80 for the executives and 126 to only 77 for the regular boards.
The Davao team won the rematch, 413-354--overall. But it was a clear 75-point edge for Davao All-Stars in Fischer random contest invented by former world chess champion Bobby Fischer (1972-1975).
"Mora'g wala nag-practice ang Cagayan de Oro sa random 960 for the rematch naka-focus lang tingali sila sa standard event," said newly minted Arena International Master (AIM) Rey Urbiztondo, Misamis Occidental's top executive, who managed to reinforce Davao team after accepting another white-collar job in the Durian City of the South.
The same observation was made by Davao team skipper IA/FT James Infiesto.
"Mora'g they took us lightly after CDO led by 16 points in the standard event. When our backs were on the wall fighting for honor for Davao's cause, we regrouped, prayed and built our determination to ace a very unexpected successful comeback," Infiesto told SunStar Cagayan de Oro.
Engineer Allan Diez, former Oro resident and now Davao team co-manager, acknowledged both Tan and Infiesto for the hattrick.
"Sila gyud duha (Tan and Infiesto) who motivated the Davao players to give their best shot, especially encouraging them to invest time for tune-up games in online 960 random chess," Diez said.
With Tan, Sombilon, Infiesto and Urbiztondo in executive fight are Engineer Napoleon Recososa, Rhynan Arce, Jimzon Trangia, Reynaldo de Guzman and the Aton brothers, Ariel and Arnel.
"It was quite devastating results for us. Walay practice sa random maayo lang sa standard," said Oro-MisOr team captain Fr. Vic Arellano, who did not discount the possibility of an exciting trilogy after a 1-1 standoff into bringing CDO-Davao's storied chess rivalry to the online format.
Davao All Stars 413 -- (Regular) Literatus 29, Oberio 29, Mosqueda 28, AGM Henry Roger Lopez 24, Jimmy Dano 23, IM Dimakiling 21, Sacar 20, Carl Zirex Sato, Irwin Aton 12, and NM Alex Lupian/Ruel Nuttal; (Executive) -- NM Tan 26, Sombilon 25, Ariel Aton 20, Engr. Napoleon Recososa 20, IA Infiesto 19, Amel Aton 19, De Guzman 18, Rhynan Arce 17, Trangia 17, and AIM Rey Urbiztondo/Alfred Moulic 6.
MisOr/CDO Finest 354 -- (Regular) Lennon Hart Salgados 25, Alfredo Rapanot 25, IM Richelleu Salcedo 22, Johnnel Balquin 19, Nazario Ubanan 18, FM Tolentino/Aquino 18, Allan Cantonjos/Romeo Canino 18, Alji Cantonjos 15, Antonio Chavez 14, Christian Arroyo 6; (Executive) NM Mercado 26, Jaime Joshua Frias II 25, Bryan Jose 21, Jonard Labadan/Jason Nabatlao 21, Abdul Halil Abdulah 18, Ralph Dalauta 17, Fr. Vic Arellano 13, Cleto Vasquez 13, Paul Omongos 12, and Resurrecion Gunayan 8.